Mom’s preamble: this letter wasn’t written or published on your actual birthday, but this was the year when we welcomed Logan into our family. On the day you turned five, Logan was only seven and a half weeks old.
So, I hope you’ll forgive me for the lateness on this.
You probably know this, but I’m the oldest sibling too. Through my eyes, my parents, your Nana and Papa, always took pity on my sisters and tried to remind me how hard it was to be younger. You see, Papa was the youngest of two boys and Nana was somewhere in the middle of four children. I assumed that they just couldn’t understand the plight of the oldest child and so I vowed to remember how it felt to be the oldest when I had kids. I wasn’t even adversed to giving my oldest child special privileges, just because I understood.
Fast forward to your fifth birthday. This year, you didn’t only turn five, but you became a big brother all over again, all in the span of a few weeks.
I admit that our family is currently in transition. I’m juggling being your Mom and Gavin’s Mom and Logan’s Mom, and as such, I’m relying on you a whole lot. I’m relying on you to turn on the television and put a show on that both you and Gavin can enjoy. I’m relying on you to entertain yourself a lot. I’m relying on you to not be too loud and to be kind and to not only avoid causing issues, but stop them if they arise.
You’re five. Only just.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m not being fair to you. I’ve actually felt like this for a while. Maybe even since Gavin was born. You’ll never be a mother, but some day you might be a dad. I’m not sure if dads experience the same guilt that moms do, so maybe you’ll never understand this, but buddy? Sometimes I feel like I can never do the right thing. I have this impossible task of parenting the people who each of my children individually are: raising you to be a good human being while also nurturing you and making you feel loved the whole time. Or, at least, that’s my goal. Maybe I don’t do such a good job. And maybe it all just seems unbelievably unfair to you, even though you’re not quite sure how to vocalize that. I get it. You’re the oldest. I expect more from you, naturally. I expect things from you that any parent would expect from their five year old. I expect you to listen to your Dad and I. I expect you to be responsible for your actions and your reactions. I understand that because you’re five (and only newly five at that), you’re not always going to be good at these things, so I am trying to lead you through so that someday you will be.
But you also have a younger brother who reacts better to quieter redirects. You have a baby brother who requires a majority of my time.
So I worry that recently, while you’re doing your best to be a big helper and trying to be all that I am relying on you to be, our interactions are so often about those times when you, quite naturally, fail.
You’re only five, of course.
But I want you to know, however you remember these days (and I know you’ll remember some of it), that I notice. I notice the way you lovingly and gently nurture Logan. I notice the ways you are quick to stop what you’re doing when I ask for help. I notice the way you are the best of friends with Gavin (he would have such a hard time with a new baby if it wasn’t for you.) I try to thank you and tell you how proud I am of you. But it is true, even when I don’t remember to say it out loud. You’re an amazing kid, Cameron.
Since those days when I assumed your Nana and Papa could never possibly understand the plight of the oldest, I’ve come to learn that parenting isn’t always easy. While you navigate the world as a five year old for the first time, I’m navigating parenting for the first time with you. For as hard as I know that is for both of us, I hope you still love this journey that we are on together as much as I do.
Four brought so many adventures. I watched you play team sports and learn to skate and start speaking French and spell your name and become a big brother all over again. Five means more of that plus school. I can’t wait to share that with you.
Happy birthday to my boy who loves to move fast and to win and Pokémon and babies.
I love you always,