We were fortunate enough to spend the past weekend with some of my family on a vacation in Iowa. It was a long drive but we made it there and back in one piece. We used my sisters time share to get a couple of apartment style rooms on a golf course in Panora, IA. (For the record she does not advise that you purchase time shares but since the deed is done we make the most of it!) The weather was perfect all weekend which always helps with kids so they aren’t cooped up all the time. We had so much square footage that is was so nice to not be on top of each other for once. We had three kitchens and five bathrooms between the two apartments so that kind of space was darn near priceless. Typically the boys will go out golfing but as we were on the golf course the ladies got a chance to go out once as well. It was a blast.
And of course I got spend time with five of my favorite people. Each of them are such fun, sassy, outgoing, and loving people. I’ll never get tired of them calling out to me or hugging my neck tight. Sweet Alice still has a limited vocabulary but spits out, “Auntie!” just fine.
There are pros and cons to being a younger sibling. You constantly feel behind at life and are always trying to catch up to where your older siblings are at. You always feel younger and less mature by comparison. When I think about what my siblings were like at my current age they always seemed more put together and in charge of life at the same age than I ever was. I think part of that is just perception and birth order because when I look to my younger sibling in the case where I
am the older one, that is when I feel put together in life. It makes me curious as to how the oldest and the youngest feel. Does the youngest never get the chance to feel like they are grown adults? Does the oldest feel added pressure to pave the way and set high expectations for their siblings to then meet? I don’t know, I think I’m rambling at this point. My point being is although I feel ready to start a family and have my own children, being a younger sibling gave me the opportunity to be a great aunt. If I were the oldest sibling I’d never have as much time to spoil and enjoy my nieces and nephews because my first job would be to mother my own kids. I am grateful for being a middle child for that reason. But it is a double edged sword. Being 8 and 4 years younger than my older siblings means that even if I had children at the same age as they did they’d still be 8-4 years younger than their cousins. And as I have not had kids at the same age as they did that gap will be even bigger and that has always bothered me. I’m ready to have a family when God gives it to me but I’m sad knowing that my children won’t get to play with cousins their own age and will most likely be left out of activities with them simply because they will be so much younger. And with M’s brother and his wife living on the other side of the country there’s not the opportunity for close cousin activities there either. As much as I hate feeling like the odd man out in my family I have to remember all the times in my life I’ve always felt that way and how nine times out of ten it ended being a really great thing. Growing up everyone always said if I didn’t look like the rest of the family they’d swear I was adopted! Sometimes that can make me feel proud and different and sometimes that uniqueness can be lonely. But now for sure I know I’m rambling. I’ve gotten way off topic thanks to my desire to procrastinate my chores and the contemplative music I have on in the background. Back to the vacation recap!
Of course family time can be stressful too. Differences of opinions, different ways of doing things, different ideas on how to spend your vacation time…you get the idea. So with stress, time away from work, and long drives, what makes family time worth it? Simple. The memories made, the pictures taken, and the laughter in between it all. And the older my siblings and I get the harder it will start to be to get all together.