I was the first born in my family of six kids. Being first born is not something we choose but more of a circumstance we adapt to. There are privileges and expectations for first born children just as there are for our second, third or fourth born and so on. We don’t always see it as we’re growing up but as we reflect on our lives, where we fit in the family order does impact the people we become.
I am currently reviewing a book my younger brother Kenny has written about his life growing up in the Bronx. He has written it for his kids to help them in their life encounters. It is very clever and real, and it has made me think about how different our perspectives are when we are kids growing up, and adults looking back.
In our lives as teens, the things we perceived to be important may seem unimportant as adults but they’re not. Think back on your childhood and in particular the High School years and remember how you felt during those times. For some it was a living hell, for others it was the best time of our lives, but for all of us it was very real. Even if we can look back today and laugh and know how insignificant it may have been, as parents we can’t forget how real it is for our teens.
I have been blessed with two healthy, smart, and talented children who are both living through the High School years. They seem to be doing well and are so busy with their friends and life, as a parent I can only assume everything is OK. Asking teens about their day doesn’t always produce the results we want but we keep asking. Leaving a door for discussion open.
Since my brother was not first born he tells a number of stories about feeling lost and insecure and wanting to reach out and how it seemed his older brother (me) seemed to “have it together”. It seemed to him that I received treatment and set expectations that he had to achieve. He has achieved so much and little did he know how much I respected what he did. But as a sibling not first born he saw things differently than I did. He may have even thought as a first child I received “special” treatment from my parents. I did but sometimes it meant babysitting my younger siblings rather than attending an event with my friends. It was not all peaches and cream.
I want my daughter to know that although I am proud of Taylor and his accomplishments I am proud of her too. She is unique and will be whatever she wants to be no matter what her older brother does. And as far as the pride we feel as parents, we are proud of her with all of the enthusiasm and love we have for our first born. Being second born is not second fiddle; it is just a different position in the family. Neither position is more important than the other; it’s just the order in which we were born…
Mom and Dad love you two dearly and we are proud of what each of you are accomplishing…