My boys are convinced that there is a hierarchy to our family and it starts at the bottom.
They all want to know why our youngest, the cute little bugger, is the favorite. He’s really not but I can’t convince the older ones of the truth of that statement. He is a charmer though. He’s sweet tempered and looks like a Precious Moments figurine with his big blue eyes and blonde hair.
I try telling them that he’s not the favorite but merely has the golden spot.
He came at a time when I didn’t know if I could ever have more children. And then when my doctor announced twins, my heart did a joyous loopity-loop! Four months into my pregnancy, we found out that one (my one and only little girl) was growing in the wrong place. He kindly sedated me and immediately rolled me into surgery to end the one pregnancy since it was her life or all of ours. It was tenuous at best as to whether Maison would survive or not. Thanks to a merciful God, he did. And once the crisis was over, I was told I could not have any more without putting myself in dire straits.
I appreciate Maison because he’s the end of an age for me. Just like a mother marvels at her firstborn’s life – each toe, finger and hair, a mother appreciates and takes in every minute, every milestone and every momentous occasion as she plows down motherhood’s path with her last knowing that an era is coming to an end.
I was no different. I could not, however, for the life of me convince my three older sons that birth order was the simple truth of the matter – he wasn’t my favorite, he was simply the last.
Through years of patient explanations, I finally convinced them that I sincerely did speak the truth. And then my oldest decided to serve a mission in Argentina.
He wasn’t down there long before the people wanted to see pictures of his family. He proudly flipped out his wallet and showed anyone and everyone his ‘la familia’ until about the 12th time after hearing the same thing again and again.
“Oh look at the little one. He is sooo cute! I bet he’s your mom’s favorite!”
Justin wrote home good naturedly complaining that even when he moves 5,000 miles away, he still can’t get away from living in his younger brother’s adorable shadow.
Being sensitive to his plight, I wrote back and gave him today’s “Life Saver” which is what my father used to tell me after my youngest brother was born;
“A dog who attends a flea circus will most likely steal the whole show. And a kid that cute will always steal the hearts of anyone who has eyes and a soul.”
He then followed up with a discourse on how life wasn’t fair but we have to learn how to deal with it. He’d then laugh and tousle my hair while saying, “Come on, Stace, can you resist a smile that charming?”
I remember looking at my brother and melting before I grabbed him and took him upstairs to get ready for bed.
Those maternal feelings have served me well through the years since I have become a surrogate ‘mom-figure’ to that brother since my parent’s untimely passing. Mom won’t be there to greet him when he comes home from his mission in 60 days. Mom won’t be there to stand proudly by him, physically anyway, on the day of his wedding. And mom won’t be able to hug him when his heart is breaking or smile with him when his heart is full.
But I will and it’s all because of his cute smile, big blue eyes and trusting faith that suckered me long ago and made me fall in love with a sibling who opened a new world for me.
Justin truly understands but prays he won’t have to stand in as a parental figure to his youngest brother because of birth order. He tells me and Brad to get our cancer screenings regularly.
Justin and I came to realize that day that we have more in common than we’d like to admit. By birth, we are the oldest in our families but by choice, we are suckers when it comes to falling for the wiles and cuteness of our youngest siblings – and that isn’t always a bad thing…;-).