Monday, 20 July 2015

Going First

Monday 15th June #15

Already I've written more than I probably thought I would and your mum keeps saying keep some back so there's something to say for your sister or brother.

That's a big thought to hold. You're not even here yet and in the back of our minds, if we are lucky enough, we'd like you to have a brother or sister. In fact I’d like there to be six of us but your mum says that's a bit too much and she's probably right.

There is something to be said about the order of things though and how it means life must work. Someone always has to come first and someone always has to come last. With all the will in the world and however much people try to make it different, that is how it must be. It is our drive to stand out as human animals, to make things better and move constantly that helps us survive.  If we were all the same, which is how some people think we should be, we would probably have died out by now.

You will be born first. That is now out of all of our control. And with that, there will be a lot of firsts. You will always be our first child and we will learn a lot of things together.

It also means you will have to go first at some things all of your life. And at some point you're going to be a big brother or a big sister.

Neither me or your mum were ‘first’ like that. We were both second. For me, it made things easier. I could watch all the mistakes my big sister made and tweak them. That meant more often than not that she got into all the trouble and I managed to avoid it.

But also my parents learnt, so probably changed how they dealt with things. And I'm a boy and she's a girl and though it shouldn’t, that makes a difference too.

All these things are going to be issues we'll have to deal with together as a family and we're really looking forward to that.

The flip side is that you are first. You'll probably get the bigger bedroom. You'll get to stay up later when your brother or sister has to go to bed. You get to be the first and that's a really special thing.

Years ago, when my mum was going through all her baby stuff, she had a book that she filled in about her first baby, your aunty. There wasn't one for me though. I can remember thinking about it but it didn't really bother me. I kind of get it.

Everyone says things are different between your first and second baby. With you, for a lot of the time, especially when you're newly born, we won't know what on earth is going on; we won't know what has hit us.

By the time your brother or sister comes along we'll have been through it once so we'll be better prepared. But you won't and suddenly you'll have to learn to share. That's going to feel strange for you, for our attention will have to be split between you and you'll be used to having it all.

So this that I am writing, it is for you but it's for your sister and brother too. And I like to write so I'm sure I'll have plenty more to say when they come along.

Learning to share will be no bad thing. Having someone to look out for and look after will also be a good thing. And having someone who is your own blood, there is nothing like that in the world.
One day maybe you'll sit with your brother or sister and share this with them. Maybe it will remind you of everything you've been through together and it'll tell you a little bit about me and your mum before either of you were here.

Me and my sister fought and fought when we were younger and I really hope you two aren't like that. But we are close now and it's really nice to have someone who comes from the same place as you and knows and understands pretty much everything you've been through. Our memories of certain things are very different but they are shared memories and you don't get anything quite like that from anyone else.

Sometimes the world won't seem fair and decisions won't seem fair and you'll feel like everything and everyone is against you.

When I was little, my sister had a brown and white teddy and I really loved it and would have done anything to have it. I have no idea why that particular teddy captured my attention but it really did.

At some point your grandma and granddad bought me a huge inflatable Donald Duck. I don't know where it came from but it was nearly as big as me. I liked Donald but I loved Paula's brown teddy so I couldn't believe my luck when she agreed to swap Donald for the teddy.

My mum, she always had a thing about swapping. She didn't like it for some reason. She always said we shouldn't swap things with each other or with other people. She said we'd always regret it.

We went ahead and swapped anyway and I got to take Brown Teddy to bed with me. Now I had a whole army of teddies in my bed and they all had their special sleeping place, but Brown Teddy got pride of place, next to me.

I don't know what it was about soft toys. I definitely had a thing for them and they stayed in my bed when I was far too old to have them. I think it's my imagination. I believed they were alive and they could think and feel and secretly a part of me still thinks they do.

Anyway, the next morning I awoke, still proud of Brown Teddy being mine. This delight wasn't to last. At some point during the night poor Donald had burst. My sister had told your grandma what had happened and I had to give her 'my' teddy back. I was left with nothing which didn’t seem fair at all. Actually, looking back it still doesn’t seem fair but there’s nothing I can do about it now.

Your grandma is amazed that I still remember this and can't believe that it has stayed in my memory for so long. I think I’ve always had a strong sense of injustice. She must have known somewhere inside because when I was four and had my tonsils and adenoids out, my mum and dad bought me my own brown teddy to make me feel better.

He wasn't the same but I still loved him and I have him now whereas Paula's brown teddy has gone. I always knew he'd have been better off with me and I think he did too.

We all make mistakes. We all get things wrong. People sometimes do things that seem really unfair but when it's your family they always do it for the right reasons. Whatever me and your mum do, we will always be trying to do the right thing by you and your brother or sister.