I grew up with 2 brothers. This would not have been my choice. Mark was a Ditz ~ noisy, invasive, too, too much & he liked poking about in my things & reading my books but at least I didn't have to share a room with him. That dubious honour went to my other brother.
John did not seem to find Mark as difficult to live with as I did. Mostly they seemed to get along. As young men they were very close & up until the day Mark died he liked spending time with John. There were, however, the odd altercations & they invariably occurred as publicly as possible.
We were sailors. I sailed a Moth ~ a solo boat as befitted one who found getting along with other people almost impossible & living with them beyond endurance. My brothers sailed a Manly Junior together. They had the perfect arrangement. Mark liked to enjoy himself; John liked to win. Mark crewed for John. So long as Mark did exactly as John told him there were never any problems. When there were problems they tended to be spectacular because Mark was something of a firecracker when roused.
It must have been a particularly fraught race ~ or John was being more than usually tyrannical. Whatever the cause as the boys approached the finish line, in front of a crowded clubhouse, Mark suddenly lept overboard & started swimming for shore. John unceremoniously reefed him back aboard. Concern for his little brother's safety? Perish the thought! They would be disqualified unless John finished the race with the crew he began with!
Anyone who saw this still talks about it. Those who knew Mark add it to the long list of stories of the things Mark was notorious for doing...like arriving in sackcloth & sprinkling ashes over his head to apologise for getting a girl home past her curfew! I believe it took some time to remove the ash stains from their carpet.
Growing up I used to be quite envious of my brothers because they had each other...but of course if I'd had a sister I would have had to share my room so all for the best. However I felt strongly enough about it that I never wanted Liddy to be the only girl in a family of boys, although we waited a good long while before we got Ditz & if you ask Liddy she will tell you in no uncertain terms that the boys were experiments that should have been discarded once the perfect child [her] had arrived on the scene & having got her what were we thinking by ruining her life with an unasked for addition?
There is no perfect family, no perfect family size but I have been blessed with my daughters. I will always be *mummy* but sometimes I get to be a sister of sorts too. I appreciate that more now I am older & I am glad that they will always have each other.