Okay, You First
by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson
Thank goodness for trailblazers. They figure out the hard stuff and leave crumbs of information to help the rest of us-the followers. Like pioneer women. No electricity. No telephones. Covered wagons and lots of kids.
Of course when you’re young, it seems like you can’t wait to do all the stuff the older kids do. As the youngest of six children, I was itching to do stuff. Riding a bike might have been the first thing. While I was on a trike, limited to 100 feet to the left of my house, and 100 feet to the right, my siblings and half the neighborhood were stylin’ on their ten speeds. The opportunity to go around the block on your own and see your ’hood from a whole different perspective was thrilling. My brothers were studying Algebra and I was skipping to the first grade, which was perhaps the only time the idea of getting homework and eating cafeteria food was appealing.
Some families have rites of passage. In mine, at age 11 you got a Swiss Army knife. I skipped that one and asked for pierced ears instead. That didn’t happen until I was 15. Perfect, because every girl’s gotta have some bling on her ears when she gets her license at 16. So while my dad was losing patience teaching me to parallel park, my siblings were well into their child bearing years.
Not only was I the youngest in my family, but I was younger than most of my friends. Naturally, many of them had kids before me. I could hardly get a date with a guy who had a job and wasn’t still living in his parent’s basement, and they had a couple of kids already.
I would see people with babies, and I knew that I wanted them too. I had been following in their footsteps so far, so why not keep going? The grass is always greener. I saw my family and friends having children and I kept thinking it looked fun. When I was with other peoples’ kids, I felt like a rock star. They were eager to play with me, laughed at my jokes, and followed me around. It was way better than a ten speed, a Swiss Army knife, and pierced ears—combined! Having kid didn’t seem that hard. Isn’t it funny how effortless it seems when you don’t have to do nighttime feedings, diaper changes, and carry an energetic toddler around half the day?
I’m not sure we can have a full appreciation or understanding for having and raising kids until it’s our turn. But if other people do it first, we have the benefit of their wisdom. Now, if we would just listen. Because I’m pretty sure the pioneer women would tell us that a minivan and indoor plumbing are must-haves.