Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Eldest Child

"Mommy, I fed The Comedian some yogurt so you won't get sick." Relief spreads through my body as I express my gratitude towards my four year-old who has fed her sister breakfast without my even thinking of her doing so. This is something new. Before I can say thank you again, she adds, "And I wiped her face and hands with a napkin, so she is all set."

Tears prick my eyes as I tell her how sweet and thoughtful she is and how thankful I am. I could have fed her and yet somewhere between putting a bootie on the dog so, she could go outside with her injured foot and cleaning up TD's breakfast dishes, she has fed her baby sister. I stand amazed. As she quietly slips back downstairs to play with her own toys in her own world, I think about the duties that the eldest child takes on. They acquire so much responsibility so fast without us even noticing and sometimes it just breaks my heart.

When I was sick and lying on the floor, she read to her sister, who was in tears because Mommy was crying too. She comforted her with ease and watched over her, shuttling her away from the bathroom as I huddled over the toilet puking my insides out. She holds my hand while I lie in bed some mornings unable to move just yet and says, "Mommy, I'm sorry you don't feel well. I will give you hugs until you feel better." As an only child, I was prone to worry, anxiety and being lost in my own world much of the time. I can see TD's need for escape sometimes from the burdens that she places on herself to take care of everyone. She is a born nurturer. The best you could want for an oldest child. She is "TD to the rescue!" at a moment’s notice.

Yet, so often lately, while I stand there grateful and consumed with love and amazement for her I feel a bit sad because she does take on so much and she is so very young.


  1. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Aw. I may have to look for a super heroine cape for her.


  2. I was the eldest child. My oldest is an independent sort of kid. I am realizing that she is so capable of doing well in school that I now realize I need to work with my middle one more. The oldest is a "get it done" type -- nothing stands in her way. The middle is more relaxed.


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