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Monday, November 20, 2006

The one in between

She's rarely the first to do anything. She wasn't the first one to walk, talk, or ride a bike. She rarely got marveled over in that "wow - look at that - one of our OWN offspring is capable of all that" way. Her older sister beat her to that honour. She's also not the last one to do anything. She's not the one whose baby cuteness is held onto for as long as possible because there will be no more of it after she's done. She's never had her cute toddler sayings recorded for posterity on her mom's blog. That would be her little sister's place.

She's the one in between - the one who is not celebrated for being first or last. She's the one the birth order experts say is most often overlooked. Sometimes, the birth order experts are right.

She's my daughter Julie, the in-between child. Though she is marvelous in her own way, she rarely gets the spotlight for being a marvel. It's true, I know it, because I am often the most guilty of overlooking her.

Last week when I wrote this post about Nikki and then this one about Maddie I saw it happen once again. Julie got overlooked. It's not on purpose - it just happens that way.

So the express purpose of this post is to marvel at my in-between girl.

Perhaps part of the reason I tend to overlook Julie is that, in many ways, she is the most like me. In the good ways and the not-so-good. She is smart, stubborn, adventurous, disorganized, spontaneous, fun-loving, opinionated, and easily distracted. She loves to do things her own way and rarely gives up until I let her try. (You'd think I'd know by now that I should just let her try the first time she asks instead of engaging in a battle of the wills, but I'm a slow learner. Plus I'm just as stubborn as she is.) She loves to cook, but she does NOT want to be Mom's helper - she wants to be Mom's BOSS. She bakes cakes by herself and has even cooked a meal or two. (And she's only nine.)

She is a whiz-kid at school. Few things challenge her. She told me the other day that she'd never made a spelling mistake on a test, and I'm inclined to believe her. When she's supposed to do homework, she asks "Mom, what's the point, if I get all the answers right the first time I try?" She has a point. I've often said that she didn't "learn" to read, she just "absorbed" it. One day she couldn't read and the next day she was reading novels. She read ALL of the Harry Potter books by the time she was eight years old. (Okay, so that's not QUITE true - the last one came out a month after her eighth birthday and by about 4 days after she'd bought it with her birthday money, she'd finished it.) She often reads a novel per night - we have a hard time keeping her in books. There are many, many nights when I'm on my way to bed that I have to remind her "Julie - it's time to turn out the light now." As I do it, I'm reminded of the same gentle tone my dad used when he'd say the same thing to me. Readers tend to understand readers.

Julie LOVES to play games. That's one of the few ways that she's not like me - or any other member of the family. She begs and pleads the rest of us to play games, and once in awhile we agree, but not nearly as often as she'd like. Nobody else cares much for games, other than Maddie whose games are at a slightly different level. (Too bad we don't live closer to ap or grandma - we'd send her over to one of their houses for game night now and then.)

When there's fun to be had, Julie is often first in line. If I'm looking for a fun, spontaneous family thing to do on the weekend, I usually turn to Julie as my first ally because she'll almost always be game. Yesterday, when she was looking through the paper and saw all the fun things going on all over the city because of the Grey Cup, she said "Mom, let's make it our goal today to not be at home ALL DAY." A girl after my own heart. The whole family ended up at The Forks because of Julie's nudging.

Some day, I can imagine myself travelling the world with Julie. What fun it will be to don a backpack and head out on an adventure with my marvelous fun-loving daughter!
02-08-2006-023
This is not the best picture I have of her, but I like the way her personality shines through. The slight sneer on her lips is pure Julie.

18 comments:

tlawwife said...

Beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl.

Gina said...

Wow, intelligent, adventurous and beautiful all wrapped up in one package!

Pamela said...

and a beautiful name... too.

Old roommate said...

Hi Heather, sat up last night and read a lot of your blog! (Especially the parts about ME!!) I loved it. (Especially the parts about ME!!)(Kidding of course.) You are a very talented writer, as you always were, and yes, your Julie is a treasure. I have a blog too, by the way....

al Poet said...

Also she said the word CHAIR before she was ten months old. And before she was a year old, if you asked her a question she would make eye contact with you and then nod a very deliberate yes. Smart as a whip, and a great big goof. I love her to bits.

Janet said...

Hi Heather!

i'm still here...FINALLY catching up on some reading, and I can see I have a LOT to read here!

LOVELY post to restart my time spent following your extraordinary life, though! What a lovely tribute, as somebody else wrote.

I'm an "oldest" child. John is as well. My father was a first-born. Now that I think about it, most of my friends are as well -- or they are only-children.

But my mother was a "middle"...a CLASSIC one. So I understand, if only a little.

And I LOVE the new style of your blog...and the terrific photo at the top!

Thanks ALWAYS for your nice comments on Lord Celery, too! Hopefully I won't be away so long again!

Take care of yourself...

Janet

Liz said...

Great picture and a beautiful tribute.

ccap said...

I LOVE that photo. Love the colours with the darker background.

Dale said...

Hold onto her, Heather. Hold onto all of them. When they're grown, you'll miss them so.

BarnGoddess said...

what a beautiful daughter you have! You certainly are blessed :)

I know the feeling......sometimes, I get so wrapped up with my Toddler Terror, I sometimes do not see my 12 yo....

andrea said...

As a middle child married to a middle child I just lapped up this post. And as a middle child I would've forever cherished something like this from my mother. (By the way, Julie is pretty lucky to have a mother who appreciates her 'robust individuality'.)

Hope said...

How wonderfulful for you to recognize her worthy and special place and contribuion in your family. She looks alot like you heather,

wordgirl said...

I just had a sit-down talk with my middle son. It's been one of those days. He's the middle kid who burdens himself with acting the role of the oldest. He's the peacekeeper and voice of reason among the siblings. Some days, I think it's too much for him. Thanks for a wonderful post about middle kids.

Anonymous said...

How beautiful!

I don't think I have a middle child.

I have Oldest Son, Daughter, and Youngest Son.

Judy - www.judyh58.blogspot.com

The Passarelli's said...

What a beautiful girl and wonderful mom she has.

marnie said...

That was lovely Heather!

Julie is beautiful.. great photo.

Coll said...

What a lovely tribute to your beautiful daughter. My sister, the middle one, is also the flamboyant one. I often wonder if it was her birth order that contributed to her flashy style... perhaps attempting to be noticed.

Vicki said...

You are a good Mama.