My brother and I always joke that we have different parents. Being their first born, he gets two rookies, while I reaped the benefit of their experiences with him.
When my brother went to college, my father, a formidable figure, cried at the drop off. It was the most gut-wrenching scene. My drop off, on the other hand was much calmer – be it because they exactly knew how things were supposed to go or be it that they had already tasted partial freedom and couldn’t wait to enjoy it in its entirety.
Blame it on Covid withdrawals or mom hormones or the fact that this year my first born turned 7, I can’t help but reflect on my time with my first born.
Spoiler alert: the reflection was rather emotional.
I realize that my daughter, my first born, is my constant learning curve, my experimental child. Because all her firsts are my firsts too, no matter how much I read up or prepare, I am never truly ready. Each time, her next milestone hits, it renders all the preparedness as mere simulations. She’s Like a moving target, the second I perfect one phase, she steps on to the other leaving me to constantly play catch up.
As a result, many a times, her rookie mom, exhibits “over the top” reactions. From being overzealous about all her achievements to overwhelmed about her tantrums. From being overly strict about her misbehavior to overly lenient when the guilt takes over. Like a pendulum, my reactions swing from one extreme to another…often.
And I hate to admit it to my baby girl, but this will always be the case. I probably will overreact to her first teenage rebellion, set stricter curfews and be more involved in her first boy problem. Her college applications will feel a little more like my own SOP and her admission a bit more like my own accomplishment.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the delicate art of letting go and holding on isn’t something I can ever perfect with her. While she and her brother are my extensions and letting go off either is hard, she gets the goods and bad of the first one I have to let go.