Your parents really don’t mind that you’re not having kids. Really, they mean it. That isn’t passive aggression or sarcasm.
When you can’t make it to Thanksgiving, your mom sends you photos of the great time everyone had without you. They look oddly elated.
After talking to your friends one night, you learn that it isn’t customary for the oldest sibling to get the hand-me-downs.
When you visit, you can’t help but notice that your bedroom has been converted into a “meditation room” and you must sleep in either of your sisters’ bedrooms, which still both have beds.
When your parents call you once a month to make sure you’re still alive, they discuss at length Margaret’s book deal and Helen’s new SUV. Your life as a social worker just doesn’t make the cut.
Your parents have renamed you either Hel-Marg-Janet or Marg-Hel-Janet.
Your parents visit you once every couple years and while there, spend most of their time on Facebook admiring photos of Helen’s latest SUV.
Your parents ask you why your husband isn’t “providing” like Helen’s husband. You remind them that you and your husband divorced two months ago.
After your promotion, your parents jump on Facebook to swiftly congratulate you before writing a sonnet about the shininess and speed of Helen’s new SUV.
During one drunken night with your dad, he tearfully confesses that he sold your Barbie car when you were eight so Margaret could take summer writing classes at the youth center. She had so much promise, and anyway, you just went around in circles.
You receive a birthday card. It reads:
Marg Hel Janet —
Hope you are having a very special birthday. We were so excited when you came into the world and remember the day like it was yesterday.
Mom and Dad
Your birthday isn’t for another three months.
You decide to leave Facebook all together because you are sick of watching your parents salivate over Margaret’s book deal and Helen’s SUV. Your parents immediately call you concerned that you are about to kill yourself, because to them, leaving Facebook is synonymous with death. After convincing them that you are not spiraling into a black pit of despair, they make sure you know that you are loved, regardless of how uninteresting you are.