Monday, June 29, 2009

Eldest

I come from a big family. Not converted-schoolbus-for-trips-to-the-grocery-store big, but larger than normal: two parents, five kids, and a substantial menagerie.

I'm the first-born of five siblings:
  • me, age 25
  • brother BJ, age 23
  • brother G, age 20
  • brother W, age 17
  • sister B, age 13
I always loved being part of a large family because our house was always humming with activity and no one ever lacked for playmates, sparring partners, or rides to school. We never had any money, but I didn't really realize I was missing out on anything. Besides, I always had a baby to play with or a younger sibling who wanted a Harry Potter book read aloud, so I was perfectly happy.

As I take my first steps toward starting my own family, I wonder whether I will be able to give them the sibling experience I had. I've always assumed that I'd have at least three children, but that was before I contemplated the reality of having to balance pregnancies with work and caring for more than one child at a time. I'm looking forward to a first pregnancy, but how do you do it when you're juggling a two-year-old and a kindergartener? Maybe there's a reason why BJ and I were born almost exactly two years apart, but the gap widened with each subsequent sibling . . .

In any event, Snapdragon will be our eldest child. Not only that — s/he will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family. I do feel a little bad about trying to bring a baby into a babyless family. Barring a catastrophic failure of latex, little Snapdragon will not have any cousins anytime soon. I'll just have to hope that the adoring attentions of a phalanx of adults will fill that void.

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