My littlest sister gave birth for the first time on 1st February. She’s nine years younger than I am, highly successful in her career, a wife, and a doting mum already to two year old Ashton. Yet, as I watched her gazing so lovingly at her new daughter, Scout, I had an overwhelming maternal surge similar to that I felt when holding her on the day she herself was born thirty years ago.
Is this what a grandparent feels when they see their own child become a parent?
I know I’m not Georgie’s parent, but I had such a monumental role in her upbringing, that I have always felt more than an older sister type of bond with her.
She was the ultimate blessing of my childhood: the greatest gift my parents ever gave to me.
It feels like both yesterday and a lifetime ago simultaneously, that I was holding her firmly against me on the day she was born, staring at her thick, dark hair, and being amazed at the huge dimple in her chin. I was the only one of the kids allowed to hold her on this day, and I revelled in this elevated position of privilege. Any kind of additional degree of responsibility was gold to me. I always yearned to prove my worth as the eldest of the four kids, – establishing myself from an early age as my Mother’s ‘right hand’.
I had ‘Eldest Child Syndrome’, in a big way…in fact I’m sure my siblings would argue that I still do…
I saw Georgie as my baby. I was the one who changed her and played with her when she woke in the mornings, closely followed by my brother and sister who also adored her. She was such a lovable, happy little darling. We all raced each morning to be the one to open her bedroom door and retrieve her from her cot. The smile she would greet us with was one that made us all feel a million dollars, and apart from a few times of the day when our favourite television shows were on, she had our undivided attention whenever she wanted it.
The phrase ‘Georgie and her five parents’ was coined amongst our friends, as she was very much the apple of our eye, and we mothered her within an inch of her little life. As she grew, I think this became a burden as much as a blessing when, as a teenager, Georgie had umpteen ‘gatekeepers’ watching her every movement. Fortunately for her though, most of her ‘parents’ had moved out by then, so she had a little more freedom to breathe.
Mum and Dad’s little ‘surprise’ was a very welcome addition to our family, and we all have loved being so heavily involved in every stage of her upbringing.
For me, she will always be my first glimpse into parenthood. My first taste of what is involved in the day-to-day raising of a child, and the tremendous joy than can come from this relationship. I loved it. It was my calling in life and I will always be so grateful for the blessing that was Georgie, in shaping my future. The impetus for having five children of my own, I know, comes from this formative experience in my own upbringing.
So watching my darling little sister gazing at her very own daughter was such a pivotal moment for me. Having the surge of absolute love for her colliding with the absolute adoration for her new cherub was almost too much. I just wanted to smother them both with hugs and kisses! And as I stared down at her darling Scout, with her mother’s eyes and thick, dark hair, and watched her beautiful wife, Penny, doting on them both, the love was completely overwhelming.
I can only imagine how my mother must feel right now. There really aren’t the words.
I have spent many moments since then enjoying imaginings of what the future might hold – of watching my own darlings – in the right time and space – welcoming their own angelic little people into this big, wide world.
What a truly wonderful legacy.