Jewish World Review August 30, 2002 / 22 Elul, 5762

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

The Last One Left | Our youngest is frequently asked what she thinks about being the only child left at home this fall. She smiles and says it will be fine. Then the involuntary reflexes take over. Her eyes roll to the back of her head and the entire left side of her face begins to twitch.

"So are you excited about being the only one home with your mom and dad?"

"Oh, yes, I'm very excited." she says. (I am as excited anybody can get about feeling abandoned and deserted. I knew those two older siblings would leave me for good one day. At least Tom Hanks had a volleyball to talk to.)

"You'll have full reign of the house now, won't you?"

"Yeah, I guess so. ( You bet I will. This is a coup I've been planning for months. First thing I'm going to do is shove my brother's furniture into my sister's room. Then I'll turn his room into a workout room. We've got the stationary bike, weights, that little TV with the VCR I can play workout tapes on, and maybe I'll get a punching bag.)

"I bet you're going to enjoy all that one-on-one attention."

"Oh, sure. Lots of attention," she says. (It's harder to follow one in three. Now, with just one I'll be in Mom and Dad's scopes 24/7. They're going to be looking at me, following me, obsessing over me. I'll be lucky if I don't smother to death from all the attention. What's a teenager gotta do to get a little neglect?)

"Your house sure will be nice and quiet, won't it?"

"Yes, it will." (Quiet like a graveyard. Who said noise was bad? I like noise. The more the better. I like yelling and shouting, and singing with my CDs at the top of my lungs. I like stirring things up, starting a commotion with the other two and watching Mom go nuts. Noise is good.) "Think you might get a little lonely?"

"Oh, maybe." (A little? Hasn't anybody been listening to me? I've been begging for a dog. Or a horse. Or both. If they really loved me, they'd adopt a baby from China. Twins would be nice.)

"I suppose you'll do a lot of fun things together, just the three of you."

"I suppose so." (We'll do a few things together, but not too many, I hope. When Melanie Dorfman's older sisters left for college and her mom and and dad became her best buddies overnight. They went to the mall with her, sat on either side of her at every ball game, went out to pizza with her and her friends on weekends and went bowling with them every Friday night. Melanie finally gave her parents a gift certificate for ballroom dancing lessons just so she could reclaim her social life.)

"You won't have to wait for phone or Internet time, will you?"

"Yeah, that will be nice." (And as soon as I get on the internet.

. . I'll . . . I'll . . . I'll see if my brother is on line. I'll instant message him and ask him what's up. Then I'll thank him for being the only one in the house with enough patience to teach me to drive a stick shift this summer. When I'm through chatting with him I'll pick up the phone and call my sister. Actually, I'll probably call her every chance I get. I have to call her to help me with math and help me study for exams. I have to talk about boys with her. If I don't call her, who will I tell my secrets to? I can't believe it. My best friend is leaving home.)

"It will be an adjustment, but I think you're going to like it."

"I'm sure I will," she says. And a great big tear tumbles down her cheek.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman