They didn’t have a choice. They were born into a family, with older children who right from day one loved (see: abused as a toy) them as much as they possibly could. When they were first born, they were the new babydoll in the family that mom had to remind you over and over again DOESN’T fit into those doll clothes. When they were toddlers, they were the one who left bite marks and scratches all over you, and always seemed to get away with it. When they were little kids, they seemed to always have better birthday parties than you. However, when they finally became a “real” kid (double digits), it was your turn for revenge. Your turn to have a bit of fun with…the baby of the family.
I think I, the proud-to-be eldest child in my family, was born a thrill-seeker. If I could talk, I probably would have said to my parents on day one “take me skydiving”. Seriously. Ok, maybe not THAT seriously. But, no, really. For as long as I can remember I was a thrill seeker. However, I was not an idiot. I realized pretty quickly that some of the things I wanted to do were potentially very, very risky.
And then she came in. The baby. My little (who is now a bit bigger and stunningly beautiful and amazing and an incredible woman and one of my best friends in the world ..!) sister.
My sister always wanted to hang with the big kids. Naturally, as the eldest often does, I did whatever I could to make sure she DIDN’T hang out with my friends and I. Cause, you know, she just wasn’t as cool (see: actually, really dorky) as us. But on one fine day, I realized that maybe her hanging out with my friends and I could benefit me.
She became the guinea pig. The one who I made try all of my dangerous feats before I did. My theory- if she didn’t get severely hurt, it was worth trying myself.
Katie always had more courage than me. Anyone who knew us growing up would probably tell you that I was always the risky one. But Katie was the one with courage. She was the one who ACTUALLY did those [stupid] things I talked her into doing when I was a pre-teen-spice-girl-wannabe. She was the one who got up in front of hundreds and sang fearlessly. She is the one who has the guts to call me out when I am acting like an idiot. She is the one who saved a very special part of her heart for her marriage (to, might I add, the most amazing brother in law EVER!). She is the one who defied all odds when she got in an accident that almost took her life and proved every doctor in that hospital wrong. Because that is who she is. She is courageous beyond measure.
And she is one of my heroes.
A few days ago, I was looking out the kitchen window as I was washing dishes. I saw, in the distance a lot of beautiful birds searching for seed among the snow (Hey! That sounds like a lyric from a song!). I decided to do an experiment. I went outside, and sprinkled seed along the porch railings and sat, waiting patiently to see if they would come closer.
And they did. But not the gorgeous cardinals or Blue Jays I saw in the distance. Nope.
Instead the little guys came. The baby of the family. The Katie’s.
Making sure it is safe for the big guys to have their fun….
And sure enough, when the coast was clear, the “big guys” started show up.
Seriously. I just kept thinking “cowards”…and then I was reminded of myself, and of how I used to make Katie do all that crazy stuff. I laughed, knowing that her and I have reminisced and cleared up what could have been a lot of tension between us as adults. And then I sat back and thought about how much I respect the little guys. They may not have been as beautiful as the Cardinals and Blue Jays I wanted to see, but they were bold and brave and courageous!
So, here’s to the little guys- the baby of the family who has more courage than I could ever hope for!
P.S.-I forgot to mention my little twitchy-tailed friend who enjoyed bird watching with me a little too much! His name, by the way, is very appropriately “Wild man”.