I am the first born of 6 grandchildren ages 19,17,15,11 and 9 (I’m 23). I was the first baby and I am the first adult. It’s an interesting space to be in as I have transitioned from the receiver of the largest Christmas gifts to the receiver of conversations of permanent employment. It is knowing your grandfather the most before he passes. It is understanding his death in a way that shapes your relationship with your grandmother for years. It is holding the babies in your arms and praying they never grow. I cherish my cousin’s childhoods because I’m old enough to fully understand their beauty. Being the oldest is taking your cousins shopping and being asked if they belong to you. Being the oldest is watching the second, third and fourth born grow into adults before your eyes.

“Are you watching Greys??” “You have your drivers license??” “Wait, it’s almost time for college?”

Being the first born is participating in every wedding, feeling joy when each baby is born and cooking/baking for every event.

Last night I was overcome with sadness at the realization that time and change are both inevitable. As I held the youngest in my arms rocking him back and forth, I prayed he couldn’t feel my tears wetting the back of his white t-shirt.

“You’re not allowed to grow” “Tell the doctors I said this is it for you”.

And on the day he’s too old and cool to run to me and hug me, I’ll cry some more.

Being the first born of 6 holds its own responsibilities but I have found so much joy in watching, loving and praying for those who are coming behind me. I was in high school when our grandfather passed away so, as one can guess, I’ve processed it in a very different way than my younger cousins. But I will say, we’ve all held it together in a way I could’ve never imagined. It’s amazing to see them grow and become who they are meant to be. Being the eldest has been such a blessing to me.

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