When our airplane took off for home, I muttered “bye Syracuse,” to Scott, who was across the isle from me. I knew the chances of us returning were small. The ending of chapters in life always get me. The emotions associated with the graduation of my baby sister crept into my throat and almost made it to my eyes on that plane ride, but I swallowed them back down. I loved Syracuse, and not because it had such a significant meaning for me, but because I knew it did for Maddie. It was her place, her special fort in the middle of the trees on the other side of the country to learn her own lessons and grow into her own person. It was another home for her for a time. It was a place that was her own.
I reflected on this as I waited for our final flight home out of Chicago. The flight attendants bustled through the isles shutting the over-head bins and making sure seat belts and tray tables were where they were supposed to be, as they do. I’m the oldest of the three girls in my family. When I was born, everything was mine and only mine. By the time Maddie came home from the hospital and into our family, most material possessions were already spoken for. Clothes were passed down, beds scooted over, rooms shared, toys recycled. Even most of the hiding places were already uncovered, forts had been claimed.
Perhaps some of the emotional roles were already claimed, too. We all became sassy, sensitive, silly and feisty, but as the first born I was, in the realm of our playroom, in charge. Danielle, as the middle kid was opinionated, but big-hearted and Maddie, as the baby, would grow into her role as the altruist and rebel.
I’m not saying I feel bad for Maddie for her birth order. Each position in the family has its benefits, setbacks and lessons. I’m just saying I think I know more about her position in the family now. I’m so happy to see the path that belongs to her, the one she’s carved for herself and the friends, school and major that are so uniquely her own; her very own. I’m so proud of the person she is and the person she has become.
+Jewelry: Marolsha // etc. Roxy/Quiksilver
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