Dear Oldest Child,
You have two little sisters who are needy and hold my attention most hours of the day. You help take care of the others – fetching diapers, picking up toys and often fixing your own toast so I can make a bottle. At a whopping six years old, you are the one I look at to be the role model, the well-behaved example, the one who makes things a little easier on me.
But I forget that you too, are still little.
You still crave hugs and kisses. And silliness and unconditional acceptance and love. Even though I expect so much of you, you should be able to act silly or get upset or mess up, because you are also little.
Despite my distraction and busyness with your sisters, I desperately want to extend that grace to you. Because you first did that – and so much more – for me.
You were the first.
The one who sealed your dad and I together – finally family.
The one who wove “mom” into my identity.
The one who cracked my heart wide open, creating a infinite space for ever-expanding love.
The one I first made parenting mistakes with, and who flipped my heart over in sincere regret. You were my first little person to forgive, before I ever even apologized.
I didn’t (and still don’t) know what I was doing, but you taught me. You were my first teacher and you are still teaching me. You paved the way to and through every stage – infancy, toddlerhood and now elementary. You will do the same through puberty (Lord, help us…), the teen years and adulthood.
You and me? We are riding this motherhood wave together.
So you… You were and are the first.
With you, this mothering thing was and will always be my first.