Day 12: What Not To ExpectPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Friday, June 09, 2006

First at being second

It is so true that the second sibling gets the shaft. Gavin and Grace are only 22 months apart but they are worlds apart when it comes to celebration and attention to various events during their first year of life from family members.

When Gavin was born people crammed into our hospital room and we left with a cart full of flowers, balloons, cards, and stuffed toys. Once home, neighbors and friends brought meals every day for a week and friends and family couldn’t wait to get their first look at our bundle of joy.

When Grace was born we had two visitors and left with an armful of flowers and cards. Once home, I think someone brought us a meal and while family and friends came to meet her, it was much hurried and with less enthusiasm that they trickled through our door.

Throughout Gavin’s first year, cards and boxes arrived for every holiday from Halloween to Christmas to Easter. Special knickknacks and homemade gifts were sent to commemorate every event and holiday in his first year. I believe Gavin has about 10 Bibles inscribed with his name.

Grace has probably received 1/20th of the mail Gavin received in his first year. She has one Bible inscribed with her name and it was given by our church.

When Gavin was dedicated on my first Mother’s Day, my dad and grandma were in attendance.

When Grace was dedicated, no one came. Fortunately our neighbors were there to take pictures.

My mom and her husband came down for Gavin’s first birthday.

No family (other than my sister and her family) is coming to Grace’s first birthday.


As the third child in my own family, I know how it feels to be the “been there, done that” child and I swore I would not let Grace experience that for herself. My brother (the oldest) has a complete baby book filled with locks of hair, baby teeth, and picture after picture. Every event- big and small- was scribed in great detail in my mother’s handwriting. My sister is the middle child and she has a baby book but it is incomplete. There are few pictures of just her. Most are of her and my brother. Me? I don’t even have a baby book.

Because of this, I take pictures of Grace with the same fervor of Gavin’s first year. To be fair to both of them, I have not put together either one of their baby books but I do have two baby books in two different bags filled with every memento just waiting until there are 38 hours in the day so I can put them all together. Grace’s first are just that: firsts. Sure, 22 months ago we may have been experiencing something similar with Gavin but Grace is her own unique person and being born second does not make her second best. Gavin, as firstborn, had the benefit of our sole, undivided attention but Grace has the benefits of our experience and an older brother to lead the way. Sure, he may be leading the way to the litter box to gnaw on some cat turds but still, he is there and he is leading.

There were benefits to being the “been there, done that” child but again, from having been that child, I will not repeat my own experiences with Grace. Which is very unfortunate for her because being the “been there, done that” child totally rocks once you are older. My older brother and sister totally broke my parents’ spirit. By the time I was old enough to discipline, my parents just didn’t care. Just like saving locks of hair from a first haircut or taking family portraits twice a year lose their luster by the third go round; enforcing the grounding a teenager for inevitable behaviors like drinking or back-talking or attempting to instate a curfew that will only be broken for the third time just isn’t worth the trouble. I may not know when I took my first steps or what my first food was or when I got my first tooth or have a lock of hair from my first haircut but I partied like a rock star in high school. Maybe not so much a rock star but I partied as hard as a dorky seventeen year old girl in Charleston, West Virginia, could possibly party. I never had a curfew and from the “whatever it takes” parenting philosophy, as long as it spared my parents from my hormone-driven rantings, I was pretty much did and was given whatever I wanted.

Because of this, Grace is not going to be allowed to leave the house until she is 18.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous rachel said...

Truer words were never spoken! As the eldest child in my family, I paved the way for my siblings to have fun, nearly painless teenage years w/ my parents! And while I did have a baby book all my own, I would've given it up in an instant for just a taste of my siblings' freedom. The grass is always greener, huh? ;)

7:45 PM  

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