My oldest daughter, my first-born child
You are turning 8 this month. It is hard to believe that time has gone quickly enough to make you this old, but here we are. In true form, you arrived on Pi Day, a date we would later find ironic as you have always amazed us with your intelligence. It is only fitting that you would share a birthday with Albert Einstein. Your smarts aren’t the only thing you have going for you though– you are thoughtful, hardworking, and just as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. And even though I don’t tell you enough, I am so proud of the person you are becoming. For all of your qualities, I see you.
Each year you grow older, I realize more and more how very similar we are. People have always pointed this out but I am just now starting to see it more clearly for myself. We are both classic Type A personalities, goal/routine oriented, and only amenable to change when there is plenty of notice and opportunity for planning. I love that we share an excitement for learning and a desire to always put forth our best work. I also realize the expectations we have for ourselves come with some contingencies. I see you fighting to control your emotions when things don’t go as you planned.
I see you
Learning to deal with performance anxiety and the outside pressure of being “the best” in all that you do. I know you struggle to find patience – you just want things to move faster than they need to sometimes. If I am being honest, at times it makes it hard to know how to parent you because I am still learning to deal with a lot of that myself. I respond with frustration because I feel what you are feeling too and I wish I had more than empathy to give you. I can’t fix it, but I see you.
It isn’t easy to be the oldest. I know this because I am also the oldest. Daddy and I “learn” with you and carry those lessons with us as we parent your younger sisters. We look to you to set the example, help, and be the older sibling, sometimes forgetting that 8 is still an age to need an example, receive help, and be the child. I know you want the same attention your sisters get and I am sorry that goes unmet at times. But I see you – even when it seems your sisters attract more attention, know that though it may be different attention than what you receive now, our eyes are always on you. We see you.
So as you begin another year, hear this, my sweet girl – there is no one else like you in the world. We may be similar, but you are unique and very much your own girl. Never feel pressure to be anyone but your true self. Learn from my mistakes and shortcomings, but use your own experiences to write your story and drive forward toward your goals. And even when we don’t see eye to eye, I will still be your biggest fan, cheerleader, and support system. Because I will always see you.