Do you know is really difficult? Parenting the oldest child. I mean...it's a total crap shoot. I can't tell you how many times Timmy/Birdie/Elle will do something that would've just driven me crazy a few years ago if Mya would've done it, but it doesn't affect me the same way now. I think I sigh most when I think about the steps I've taken and continue to take with Mya. Like really deep, heavy sighs.
I want to be the best mom for her. I can't tell you how truly beautiful she is. She is so smart, wise, responsible, funny, witty, and unbelievably thoughtful. But she is also so incredibly stubborn, mean, and emotional, and sometimes I let the negative qualities get in the way of letting me see the sun that is always shining in her heart, even if there are a few clouds in its way.
Again, I want so badly to be who she needs me to be, and for the most part, I am. But I know I can be and do more. I give so much time to the babies, mostly because they still want to be on top of me in some fashion so it seems I am always attached to them. Like me, Mya loves to be cuddled and snuggled, but only when she's ready, and sometimes I miss those opportunities because I am tending to someone else. And because I notice the missed opportunity, I wonder, does she as well? And is she keeping a running tally of all those moments? Gosh, I hope not.
Because I am not always able to physically be with her when she needs me, I try and do things to show her my love everyday. I make it a point to stop working out when she wakes up in the morning, and I run to her on the couch and snuggle her body and kiss her ever-present chipmunk cheeks (I hope they never go away). I run my fingers through her hair as she eats her cereal. I place my hand on her back as she reads the scriptures in the morning, even if it's just for a second. I define hard words for her on demand because she, like me, has a love for language and is eager to grow her vocabulary. I laugh at her made-up jokes, even the bad ones. I encourage her to make more jokes. I make a big deal about every test, homework assignment and worksheet she brings home, and I help her understand her mistakes if she lets me. If she doesn't, I offer to help, but leave the offer on the table for when she's ready. There's no reason to make her upset about an 89% if she doesn't want to understand why she missed 1 or 2 points. I buy her an endless supply of books. She's always telling me how little she gets, but I remind her how much she gets because she's the first. She is the first to get all new books, new gadgets and new foods. Then she helps introduce those things to her sisters; she does it in that fantastic sibling kind of way that manipulates the younger children that they have to read this book or try this game or eat this vegetable. I listen to her rattle on and on about the kids at school, the crushes the boys have on the girls, the way so and so chews her food, etc., and I never correct her on how many times she uses the word "like" in a sentence, even though I always keep a running total. I hug Mr. Bear with her almost every night. I read an extra chapter with her that I would never do with her sisters. I secretly tell her she can stay up to read, even if dad tells her she has to go to bed. I hug her patiently a few times a week when she comes downstairs after bedtime claiming she's had a bad dream, even though Tim and I both know she never fell asleep. I pray that Heavenly Father will help her have good thoughts and good feelings and will push those bad dreams away.
And more than anything else I do during the day for her, I am constantly thinking about her (and all the kids) and asking God to help me know her better. I'm a middle child, and supposedly I am very much a middle child. ;) I guess it's true. I don't want Mya to feel like the guinea pig, even though she is and always will be. I know I've messed up. Every time she freaks out about nothing, I think about all the times I snapped at her for spilling something or dropping something or walking too loudly when I had just put a baby down. But even though there have been some missteps, I believe I've done a good job too.
I think she knows I think about her. Gosh, I hope she does. I do. I really do. I know she knows I pray for her. I think she knows how proud I am of her. I try and compliment her when I see she's done a grown-up thing. I try and give her some space. I let her do things that are hard for me. I let her leave my line of sight and trust she isn't talking to strangers on her path. It scares me every minute she is away from me, but you know what, out of all my kids, she is the one who checks in. She makes sure to let me know where she is.
I love my Mya. I love that she loves Katy Perry. I love that she likes to wear fake glasses, scarves and bold lipstick. I love that she thinks she has a specific style. She's been wearing 2 pairs of pants all winter because she wants to wear jeans with holes at the knees but doesn't want her knees exposed because it's "weird," and it drives me and Tim crazy, but I kinda love that she doesn't care. She knows what she wants. I love that she reads until 10:15pm at night, even though she's a total cranky pants in the morning. I love that she loves Eggo waffles; I used to love them too before school and considered it a real treat when mom bought them. I love that when I'm running late she gets the other girls their bowls of cereal. I love that she has a Fitbit watch and is diligent about getting her steps in.
I wish you could know her. I want the whole world to know her. She is a gem of a first child, and for as long as I live, I am going to all I can to make that sun shine brightly out of her heart because she is destined to do great things.