Yesterday I was talking to my oldest granddaughter (The Princess who is 7) on the phone. With Daddy is away on TDY, Mommy and the two girls are spending a week with friends who just had their third child. The Princess had a few questions and comments about how the older kids in a family adjust to a new baby. It’s tough, I assured her. Kids are used to having Mom and Dad’s attention and in the house running a certain way, and then suddenly everything changes. Sometimes it takes a little while for the big kids to get used to that new baby. But that’s okay, I assured her. It’s perfectly normal. Before long, everybody will be used to the new way and things will be just fine again.
That intrigued her. She gave that some thought and the asked whether she had felt that way when her sister (The Pixie) came along. Absolutely, I said. But it didn’t take you very long to figure out that it was fun having a little sister and a best friend living right in your own house and to realize that you loved her.
Hmmm… Did Auntie Val feel that way when Mommy was born? Oh, yes. In fact, it was really hard on Auntie Val because she was 12 years old when your mom was born, so she was really used to being the only kid in the house.
Next, The Princess wanted to know if my sister had felt that way. I resisted the urge to tell her no. My sister really lucked out getting me for a baby sister, so of course she never felt that way. It was tempting, but I decided to go with the truth instead. I’m sure she did, I admitted, but I don’t remember because I was a tiny baby.
And then I got the bright idea to confess my own feelings when my little brother came along.
I told her how when Gordon got a little older and Mom was giving him fruit juices and baby food, I battled the demons of jealousy and, in fact, on those occasions when Mom let me feed him, I helped him learn how to share by drinking part of his juice from the bottle and eating some of his delicious mashed up bananas, peaches or applesauce.
Hey! Don’t judge! I was 6. Give me a break.
What intrigued me was the way The Princess reacted to my confession, What did my mom do, she asked. Well . . . nothing. I’m pretty sure I never told her. Oh. Silence. “Ooma, I think you’d better call her right now and tell her what you did.”
Seriously? Well, yes, the kid was completely serious. She wanted me to call my 88 year-old mother, tell on myself, and then call back to let her know what my mother said.
So I did, mostly because I know what my daughter and son-in-law are trying to teach their children, and I do like to be a good example when I can. So I ended the call to Texas and called my mother in Utah. (Thank goodness for free long-distance!)
My mom and I had a good laugh. She warned me never to do that again, and assured me that if I had needed smashed up bananas in a baby food jar, all I would have needed to do was tell her. She would have given me some. I’ll admit, I was a little surprised by that. I guess it’s true that you learn something new every day.
But I digress …
I called back and told The Princess the results of my confession. She seemed satisfied with my mother’s reaction and passed the phone off to The Pixie (age 5.) I had to repeat the whole story because The Pixie was really curious about how an Ooma can get in trouble. I told her that all you need is a mommy or a daddy around when you do something wrong. My daddy is in heaven with Jesus, but my mommy is still here, so I can still get in trouble when I do the wrong thing.
Well, The Pixie, being a younger sibling had a different take on the solution to the problem. The confession of guilt was a good first step, but I wasn’t through yet. She felt strongly that I needed to call my little brother and apologize for eating half of his food mumbledy-mumble years ago.
Sigh. Well, she was right, but I asked for a slight delay. I’m bucking up against a deadline on a book, I don’t have time for a gazillion phone calls during my work day, and my brother’s birthday is today. I promised that I’d combine both calls in one — and I will. The Pixie thinks my brother will forgive me, but even if he doesn’t, I need to apologize. And she’s right. My admission of guilt and my apology for doing the wrong thing shouldn’t be based on whether or not they’re received well. I owe them, regardless. (The Pixie also thinks my brother should warn me that if I ever do that again, he’ll eat half of my food. And though that seems fair enough, I may not give him that suggestion.)
Anyway, I share this today because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since yesterday afternoon. Yes, it makes me smile, but mostly I’m impressed with what my daughter and son-in-law are teaching my grandchildren. It’s a good feeling to know that you can trust your kids with your grandkids, and I don’t say that with tongue in cheek. I know plenty of people who can’t trust their children to raise their grandchildren well. I’m blessed that I can.