Hadley is the younger sister.  I, being the oldest of two, do not know what it is like to be her; and yet, along with the many gifts that motherhood presents me, I have gained new insight as to what it must be like to be the second of two, to be Hadley, to be my sister.  

You get bossed around.

You get told what to wear, what character you are, what your name is and whether you talk, bark or growl.

No matter how much ______ (taller, faster…) you get, you aren't as ______ (tall, fast…) as your older sister.


And when you don't really feel like following someone else's rules anymore, you get the guilt trip. 


And, of course, when things line up just right in the day, you laugh, cooperate, share and enjoy mother-nature's gift of a live-in friend.

I tend to be pretty sensitive to what it must feel like to be her, perhaps because for the first time, I can imagine what it was like for my sister to be bossed around, told what character she was, told to bark instead of roar because she's my pet dog, not my pet lion anymore.

Yet as Hadz is getting older, I'm seeing something new emerge from her.  

She doesn't let the guilt trip persuade her.  

She has her side to the story and wants it to be heard, too.

She leads conversations now that are funny, creative and interesting.

And for the past few weeks, she has been initiating the desire to ride the pedal bike.  Early on, she would just sit on it.  Then get off.  Eventually she would want some help, but would quickly loose her interest. She'd pick up her push bike and take off down the sidewalk in that comfort of mastery that she wasn't quite ready to give up.

But the past couple of days, she has talked a lot more about wanting to ride her pedal bike.  She's been asking us to go outside with her for that specific purpose, and if we promise to let her ride after dinner, she reminds us after her last bite.  

And so Rich and I have been helping her (Rich got better results than I did, so I quickly and happily turned into cheer-leader and photographer).  She would try with a familiar routine -- the same thing she does with putting her shoes on, or buckling up her own car seat, or putting on her pajamas -- feign that she can't do it, rally a little encouragement (but careful not to give too much!), try it with a scowl on her face, try even harder because she deep-down wants to do it, scowl turns to smirk, and she does it all by herself.  And while she enjoys the praise, she doesn't seem to need the attention for long.  And then she nonchalantly moves onto her next endeavor. 

But, I, with my camera and that goofy parent grin that beams automatically, was left saying to myself, "She did it".  I know we all have milestone moments as parents that make us so proud.  Not so much in the way that we can tell our friends, boast and brag.  But in understanding what it is like to see the process occur in the mind, the heart, the soul of a little being who, before this moment, wasn't sure she believed she could.

 © Houseman 2013