Is it like bushwhacking through the forest? This motherhood thing? Moving wildly, ever foward into the unknown. Slicing through one obstacle, only to be smacked in the face by another. Leaving a clear path behind for others to follow.
Am I the machete, frantically clawing forward? Trying so desperatetly to succeed on this motherhood path? Is my first born child every stinging tree branch, each one whipping after another?
Everytime I move forward with Laura, I’m met with some new obstacle. Bed wetting, picky eating, tantrums, tears. Is mothering Laura harder because I’ve just never done it before? Will the same wet beds and uneaten dinners be easier for me to face with Gavin, simply because I’ve already faced it with Laura?
I keep thinking how much easier it is for me to mother Gavin. Everything with him is so simple. He has his hard days, but they never phase me. Is he just as hard as Laura was, but with an easier path? Have I already cut down the barriers that keep me from being a good mother to him? Is it because I’ve done this whole “baby” thing before, so I know how to handle the creeping vines that tickle my ankles?
What’s it like to be an oldest child, always keeping one step ahead of your inexperienced parents?
Is the second child always so nicely set up to just follow along the already beaten trail? Or am I just waiting for some nasty, snarling second-child vine to twist around my ankle and pull me back from behind?
I’m a second child and a middle. I know how much heartache I felt in my role. Never feeling as empowered as my trailblazing older brother, taking my parents ever onward to the next hurdle. Always feeling a little bit slighted by my younger brother and sister, who seemed to get all the attention.
“You caused me the least heartache,” my mother told me recently. I know I wasn’t always easy. I know I caused my parents worry and concern. But was it just being the second child? Was it just that I was positioned to follow in the clearest part of the path my parents cut with my brother?
Will I always struggle to parent Laura? Will we ever come to a clearing in this jungle of motherhood? Will Gavin become mired in some quicksand of parenting? Will he make it to the clearing that Laura and I discover? It’s a jungle out there. I hope my blade is sharp enough to cut through the brush, because all around me there is beauty. I hope I am always able to look up and see it.