Sarah is our middle child: common acceptance is that the middle child is the most difficult to pin down. They can usually read people well, they are peacemakers who see all sides of a situation, they are independent and inventive.
Except that for 10 years, Sarah was the baby of the family. Babies are social and outgoing, they are the most financially irresponsible of all birth orders. They just want to have a good time and they love the limelight.
While lastborns may be charming, they also have the potential to be manipulative, spoiled or babied to the point of helplessness.
Well, where Sarah is concerned I have to say BOSH to common acceptance of middle or baby child traits. Sarah is so her own person, so balanced, so thoughtful, so principled, so not in the limelight. She should be—she’s beautiful and smart and charming and funny and she’s the least financially irresponsible person I know. From the time she was twelve, she used to chastise the shopping me because she already had enough of whatever I’d just bought. And as for manipulative, spoiled or babied, I hope all my kids are like that to some degree. It’s how you learn how to push the barriers, to be an adult while knowing that you’re loved.
And while Sarah was a gorgeous, chubby and gregarious baby, an infinitely brave toddler, a smart and loving kid, and an extraordinarily challenging teenager, it’s as an adult that she most commands my love and respect.
I’ve long forgiven you for these things, Sarah:
- how you learned to walk and then ran away from home on the same day
- how you nearly gave an old man a heart attack by running in front of his car but made us all feel like it was his fault
- how you barely hid your shame at having to sometimes take the same bus that I did when you were going to high school (and as I remember, I wasn’t crazy about the full-on kohl eyeliner you were using then either)
- how you tried to con me into thinking the guy you were living with was your roommate
- how you used to read to me at midnight, sitting on or perilously near my face, in the dark, when you were 14 months old
- how every animal in the known world was precious to you
- how you chose Dave to be your dad from day one
- how you mothered Emily, even when I wasn’t looking
- how you found Chris a place to live so we didn’t have to put his belongings on the doorstep
- how your adulthood smacked me up the side of the head when I saw you coming down the stairs at your house when you were 20-something, smoking a cigarette, drinking a glass of wine, all rosy from a bath
- how you indulged me when we were planning your wedding, and I wanted to make everything
- how smart and fun and caring a mother you are
- how you called me every day for two years when Dave was away in Victoria
- how you surreptitiously let me know that it might be a good idea to deal with that long hair bristling out of my chin and how you promised to push me back through the door if I ever go out of the house looking like a mad caricature of myself.
|Sarah and her dad|