This is how it was in the not-so-quaint past, when having children was considered a leisure activity—akin to throwing horseshoes or grilling steaks on the hibachi; back when parenting wasn’t even a word and children were left to live by their wits, subject to the rule of the pack.

My pack consisted of me and my brother and sister—that pair of omnipotent, impervious, haughty emperors. Photos from that time prove they were really just two scrawny kids from the ’burbs with high-water pants and bangs cut far too short, but my siblings were nonetheless superior to me in age and experience, and in those days that counted for everything.

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