In the month of November, we celebrate two birthdays — my oldest and my youngest. I laugh when I think about the similarities and the differences between these two wonderful personalities in our family.
My husband and I were two totally different people when they were born. With the oldest, we were idealistic, hopeful, and patient. With the youngest, we're...tired. When our daughter was born, we read every book and every magazine article about parenting. With our youngest, we're reading every book and every magazine article trying to explain how our house has been taken over by the sweetest little bighead, big-cheeked baby (a.k.a the BBB) while we just live here.
With the oldest, we took her everywhere — rallies (we were student activists), receptions (I was a newspaper editor and always invited to fancy shmancy shindigs) and lunch meetings with colleagues. With the youngest, we alternate activities to keep him in the house, so he won't throw another shoe out of the car door before it closes (we have 3 different shoes to prove it).
The oldest is now admiring our new cell phones and DH's new video iPod, while calling all of her friends on Skype because "my mom is always on the phone." I'm not sure where we went astray, but if we had a competitive edge before, it's been lost somewhere between the late night climbings out of the crib and turning on the TV, surfing for Sprout and the wearing of my shoes because we wear the same size and "they look so cute on me." My husband's grandmother used to tell us that children are for the young. I was young once, so what do I do now?
Celebrate! On November 14, 1994 after 14 hours of "labor" (really only 3 hours of intense, productive labor) at 11:54 p.m. in the University of Michigan Hospital, we had a girl who was 7 lbs. and 14 ounces, 22.5 inches long. I never thought that I could be a calm and confident mother in the midst of chaos and confusion. I look at her daily, sometimes hourly and think "Man, God you do good work. I was a mess when I started this journey and even though I'm still a mess, you dress me up pretty well. She'll grow up thinking I was pretty cool." She's a committed dance student, runs a successful mommy helper business (we're thinking about her training others and then finding them assignments for a percentage of the pay...business, business) and she's a great role model and sibling to the other four. This is her last year on the clock. AAAHHHH! I'll have a teenager soon. Someone pass the Chardonnay!
On November 11, 2004, almost 10 years later, after a scheduled induced labor of about 5 hours (had to make childcare arrangements since we had no family in Baltimore, so the spontaneity of water breaking and driving to the hospital in traffic, well, been there/done that), we had an 8 lb. 8 oz baby boy at Mercy Hospital, near downtown. He was more than the tie breaker (we had 2 girls and 2 boys prior to his birth); he is turned the balance in our house upside down and we all love it. He is so happy, full of energy and has everyone, even big brothers wrapped around his finger. Little BBB has a royal introduction created by the little big sister — "Introducing (she pretends to be blowing a horn) Prince Khari" and then he says "Ta Da." I didn't teach them this. I promise. Now yes, this is a tribute to my beginning and my end of the child-rearing journey, so happy birthday from the rest of "the crew."