Always Second Best (AKA Always the Bridesmaid and Never the Bride)

imagesI can remember being second for as long as I can remember; I was born second in my family, for starters.  There was never a chance for me to be “the favorite” anything to anybody; there was nothing special about me, so I spent my life wanting to be “the first” or the favorite of somebody.

Many times in my life, there has been somebody who was number one to me; that special person who was a favorite aunt or uncle, or the one I would think of before anybody else.   Each time I was married, the husband du jour was number one in my life; I tried to make certain he knew he was more important than anybody else was.

Conversely, my husbands have not responded in kind; they have been narcissistic, and more concerned the children knew they were loved than preserving a relationship with me.  I actually had the conversation about my desire to come first in our marriage with my last husband; he found me to be selfish and immature.  So goes my last divorce.


I have been spending the holidays with my uncle; I suppose I always thought of him as my “second favorite” uncle; but I have never said it aloud.  My other favorite uncle is one whom I have not spent much time with since I was very young; I have simply held those memories fondly.

The other night I overheard him on the phone talking to a friend; he was explaining my visit and he described me as being his “second favorite niece”.  He said it without one hint of irony or hesitation; juts flatly stated the truth.  Second.  I was stunned.

I have no idea who number one is; however, I suppose it does not matter.  He is only second to me as well, why should I expect to be any higher on his list of favorites.

The realization that I was once again second left me feeling cold; I would have almost felt better if I had missed the mark by six or seven.  I obsessed over which cousin is better than me enough to be the favorite, and why.  Is she less talkative?  Smarter?  Does she play a better game of Scrabble?  Live closer?  Visit more often?

Finally, I have resigned myself to being second place, the runner-up.  I imagine when the time is right; I will be the favorite to someone…

When I enter the world of the three-dimensional people and Technicolor…