Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I, too, was the little sister. My sisters and I were much closer in age than my own girls are, but my sisters were still older than I was and I spent a lot of my childhood feeling left out…. just like my baby does. I grew up just wanting to be let in on the big kid fun and never feeling like I quite made it to full inclusion. Even today, my sisters are very, very close both emotionally and in proximity. They live just a few miles apart and I live about 1000 miles away. They see each other everyday and I see them each about once a year.
Being so far apart has made it okay. I do not desire to be included all the time anymore. I am very happy living where I do and living the life I lead, one that is different in many ways than my older sisters, but it is amazing how those old left out feelings can still show up from time to time. How envy can creep in when I least expect it and drive out the gratitude I have for the life God has blessed me with. My envy is no longer centered around my relationships with my sisters but I still experience it. And, though, I rarely see my sisters I still walk around, at times, feeling like the left out little sister.
As I watch my baby, heart broken over being excluded, I remember those feelings. I remember the hurt I felt. What perspective parenting can give us though! I see now that, though she wants to do all that the big kids do, my baby just isn’t as ready as she thinks she is. She really cannot keep up with her siblings and would be better off enjoying the toddler stage she is in. The world is new to her and she has the opportunity to delight in the littlest discoveries, things that no longer impress her siblings. She would do well to focus her energies on scribbling with crayons and markers, playing with her “Little People” toys and with her baby dolls, or looking at her lift-the-flap picture books. These are the things she loves to do, when she is not too busy feeling left out. These are the things that bring her joy, when she is not focused on what she is missing.
God gives each of us our own lives. No two people are given the same blessings, the same opportunities, or the same gifts, no two lives are the same. When we spend our time standing at the window watching others have fun we miss out on so much of the fun awaiting us in our own lives. I hope I can show my youngest daughter the blessings in her life, the gifts God has prepared for her. They are not the same gifts as her siblings necessarily, but they are wonderful gifts just the same. I hope I can teach her to appreciate all she has and not to worry about what she doesn’t. I hope she will learn early, what I am really just beginning to learn…..a life filled with gratitude is so much more worthwhile than one filled with envy.