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The Weight Of The Firstborn 

The Weight Of The Firstborn

Firstborns, like Myself and my Ellie are a very special type ️. We are born into responsibility, whether we like it or not; the responsibility of teaching our parents how to care for a new soul, and by default, to be a gold star example for any siblings that should come along. That’s a lot of pressure for a new being who’s also trying to learn who they are as an individual. 

"Firstborns...are born into responsibility, whether they like it or not."

This pressured space, is a big bonding area for Ellie and me. To be gentle hearted with a rock solid core seems an impossible way to live at times.

We feel it might be easier to choose one or the other; live completely shut off, or free as the wind with no regard to the consequences (perhaps, like younger siblings seem to). But neither one feels completely right, all of the time. 

"She always seems relieved that I would even ask..."

At times I'll ask Ellie, “Is it hard to be a big sister sometimes?” She always seems relieved that I would even ask. Firstborns don’t always feel as though the weight of their responsibility is even noticed or considered by others. 

Over these precious years, Ells and I have built enough trust between us that she can say, “Yes,” out loud to me, “it is hard, Mommy.”  I can see her mindset shifting into the comfort of knowing she’s in a safe space when I say, “I know, Baby. Mommy is a big sister too.

"I know, Baby. Mommy is a big sister too."

"...Fairness. Security. Comfort."

Feeling validated and seen, she will usually continue with a list of reasons...“It’s hard because I feel like I’m always the one that has to say sorry first to my sister, I sometimes have to clean up after her, and I don’t get picked up and carried as much as she does. I have to walk because I’m big enough to walk.” 

Mommy Reading between the lines: Fairness. Security. Comfort. 

Life won’t always be fair, and we have those conversations too, but these moments are not for that. In these moments, I stop to remember what has always soothed my own heart, and I pass it along to the daughter that God gave to ME for a reason. If that reason is that I can hear my younger self talking when she speaks, and that I have an ocean full of experience to draw from, then maybe I am more prepared for these moments than I think I am most days. 

"We are not just, 'Mom & Dad : Life Consultants'... We are Mommmmy and Daddddy..."

I will constantly remind her that she is not the parent. I am. Looking out for her sister should come out of love, but ultimately she is not responsible for her sister. I am. She can let go and be a child. Firstborns should literally be TOLD this. I also remind her that she will always and forever be my baby. Just because carrying her is difficult for me at this point, she can and should come sit on my lap because I WANT her to. I'm her Mommy and Dad is her Daddy. We are not just "Mom & Dad : Life Consultants... we are Mommmmy and Daddddy. 

"Firstborns don't give themselves permission to let loose often, but when they do... everyone feels it..."

When there is a sense of security for my Ellie, she feels safe enough in her core to take more RISKS, knowing that we will catch her if she falls. She lets loose. She remembers that she is a kid. Her imagination lifts itself back up to 100%. Firstborns don't give themselves permission to let loose often, but when they do, the family foundation shakes and everyone feels it, and we are all better for it. 

"...With responsibility comes PRIVILEGE."

Yes, I expect more of Ellie than I do of Irie because she knows and understands more, currently. The important reminder for me, though, is that what I should expect of her is in relation to what she's learned so far and to the experience she's had, balancing it all with a gentle nudging her out of her comfort zone as we move along in life.  Yes, she IS held accountable for more things than her little sister is at these young ages, but she also has more privileges. There is a saying, "With privilege comes responsibility."  The idea is only complete when we also flip it; "With responsibility comes PRIVILEGE."

"...and what She Says Will Shift The Whole Atmosphere."

The pressure of the firstborn is weighty, yes, but the VOICE, the WORDS, the INTENTION, and the ACTIONS of the firstborn also carry weight. Ellie may not be the "squeaky wheel", but when she says something, even in a whisper, it is heard and it is felt. She speaks up when something needs to be SAID, and what she says will shift the whole atmosphere. It is in her nature is to observe, ponder, and internally measure before taking action, and her words reflect it, so they are always heavily considered by those in her presence. 

...And after writing this entire blog about Ellie and power she will always carry, I look at these photos and see only my baby, always and forever... and THAT is the weight of a Mom. <3

 

 

**If you are a younger sibling and your feathers are ruffled, check out this short Mama Morsels episode where I talk about the power of my YOUNGEST daughter; how it brought me to my knees, and how I am better for it. :) 

 --> Mama Morsels Podcast // Episode 4 // The Other One: Raising A Rebel

 

LISTEN TO THE NEW PODCAST!

 

 

 

 

 

A Celebration of Aging: The Good, The Bad, The Cray Cray 

*This post is made possible with support from AARP Cincuentañeros™ and #WeAllGrow Latina Network. All opinions are my own.

 

It seems that in a blink of an eye a woman goes from being "too young" to "too old" in our modern culture. What are we, avocados?? We are allowed ONE shining moment of glory, and then cease to be useful or wanted??

 

 Pffft. Listen, as a California girl I'll take avocado on errrthang, believe me, but I certainly am not someone who's moment of glory is only behind her, nor is it only ahead of me. I have had life changing moments to reminisce about, and now I, not only hope for, but expect them to continue to remain consistent in my life. I expect to be treated as an evergreen tree, always bearing new fruit... but have I always treated others the same?

Hmm... With as much honor, respect, and love that I have for my own grandmothers' pearls of wisdom given throughout my life, have I dismissed some other of my elders' opinions for being too antiquated in this fast-paced business? And have I, at times, dismissed the voice of someone because I thought they were too young with not enough life experience to know what they were talking about? 

 

A Seat At The Table

How old do you have to be to have "a seat at the table" and at what age does that seat expire? 

Well, I had beautiful and eye-opening dinner experience with AARP Cincuentañeros where the seats at this impeccably set table were reserved for TIMELESS women. For US.

There were women in different decades of their lives sharing in each others' wisdom, laughing, crying, and best of all respecting and honoring each others' voices.

 

I gotta say though, of all the women, I think I had the MOST special moment capturing this video below, from all of us at dinner to my Grammie-In-Law who, on that very day, turned 100 YEARS OLD!

When I think about the incredible life this woman has led, and the wisdom she has shared with me and countless others I might just cry right here in my bulletproof coffee.... So y'all watch below, and meet me after. Dis tew much.. 

I'm not crying, you're crying...

 

As beautiful and celebratory as it felt to send Grammie this video, we definitely got into some REAL conversation about aging. We opened out hearts about some real concerns and fears throughout the rest of our time together at dinner. It was so easy for me to relate to women who talked about the fear of being dismissed after a certain age, in business and in life.

When the younger women talked about having to lie to make themselves older in an important meeting, I remembered being 18 years old, owning my own business, and feeling the frustration of not being heard and the feeling that I so badly needed to prove myself. I stopped to remind myself of something I have spoken about, regarding youth, on panels and in speaking engagements:

"Children are so pure in spirit that sometimes they open their mouths and God comes out." -T Lopez

There is true wisdom at any age when you choose to see it. I am blessed enough to have two of these pure spirits at home with me, and I have learned that growing in wisdom means constantly realigning myself to practice what I preach. What this AARP Cincuentañeros™ dinner really felt like, was a realignment<3 ...A redirecting of our hearts to disrupt aging, to celebrate our stories, and celebrate how we want to live and age. 

I can definitely recall the real fear I had once had of aging, especially as a woman now 20 years in the entertainment industry, where youth and outward beauty is praised above all. It took me quite a while, but I worked at making a major shift in my own mindset. Now every year feels like a badge of honor. Every year is a gift. I am more and more grateful for the invaluable wisdom I gain from this life's experience and I CHOOSE to celebrate it; the good, the bad, and the cray cray. 

See more about how we can all celebrate who we are at every age at  aarp.org/cincuentaneros !

What about you? I'd love to hear... When has age been a limiting factor in your life? When has it been a gift?

 

LISTEN TO THE NEW PODCAST!