Sweet, Serious, & Sincere Parenting Reflections

A Letter to My Oldest Child, When I Forget You’re Still Little, Too

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To My Dear Firstborn,

You’re my oldest child. The biggest. The ruler of the siblings.

You can dress yourself, brush your own teeth, and mostly follow instructions. You can help your little brother with his shoes and his coat.

You can read and write. You have your own hobbies and interests.

I don’t have to worry about you eating out of the trash or sprinting into traffic. You can take your own showers and brush your own teeth.

But with all your independence, it’s easy to forget that you’re still little, too. 

You’re only seven. You don’t even need two digits to write your age.

You’re only seven. My favorite sweatshirt has been on this earth longer than you.

You’re only seven. You’re still afraid to sleep in the dark without a night light.

You’re only seven. You still have trouble tying your soccer cleats tightly enough to keep them on for an entire game.

I remember when we first brought your brother home, you were only two (and barely even that). Still, all of a sudden, you looked like a giant to me. After only two days in the hospital with a newborn, it seemed like you had tripled in size.

With each younger sibling that came along, you seemed to grow exponentially bigger. My expectations for you have grown bigger over that time as well. 

“Why can’t you can’t you do this yourself?”

“Why are you giving me such a hard time?”

“Why can’t you listen the first time you’re told?”

The answer is: because you’re only seven.

Because although you’re no longer a baby, you’re still baby enough. 

Sometimes it’s really hard for me to remember this. I know it, but in the thick of parenting, the awareness of your littleness often gets crowded out by the daily grind at home.

Still, I promise you that I will keep trying hard to remember. 

I will try not to push you to grow up too quickly. I will try not to let my expectations outpace your reality. I will try to remember that, while you may be my oldest child, you’re far from old.

You’re still growing, changing, and learning what it’s like to function in this world.

After all, you’re still little, too.

Pin Me!

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11 Comments

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Emily,

      Yes, I totally agree. We’re in a stage where my oldest child is really testing out his will vs. ours and it can be *so* frustrating if I don’t keep this thought in the forefront of my mind: He is still so little.

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

  • Mandy Youtz

    This just made me tear up. I have three girls and my oldest is 7 too. She really does seem so big to me, but it’s true– she’s still just a little girl. She needs me to remember that, even when I want to give the “you’re-the-big-sister, you-need-to-be-the-example” speech. This was a timely reminder for me. Thank you.

  • April

    Wow, this sure took my mind back about 22 years!! My oldest is 26 but he was a 5 when my 3rd child was born. It’s so absolutely true that they seem to grow a whole foot while your in the hospital! Now, I see how fast my grandbabies are growing….cherishing the moments just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter the more time goes by. It’s great you are encouraging other’s in motherhood.

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Meredith,

      I’m so glad you could relate to this. My oldest child is 7.5, so we are in a similar boat. Sometimes I think, with all the deep breathing I have to do daily (to keep from losing my sh*t), I should become a yoga/meditation instructor or something! 🙂

      Charissa

  • Karen

    When we brought my son home we made sure my daughters didn’t feel left out. They were 7 and as you said, they seemed so big but still needed me. It’s a balancing act sometimes.

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Karen,

      Yes, a balancing act describes it perfectly! When we brought home my second, my oldest child was only two. –But then we brought home another baby when he was 4.5 and will be bringing home another (our last) baby when he’s 7.5. I have to remind myself daily (who am I kidding, multiple times per day) that he’s still only seven and learning. This is especially true since he has the most stubborn streak of my boys.

      Charissa

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