Earlier in the fall as Hannah and I were on a hayride at a small nearby farm I asked her how many hayrides she'd been on in her life. She pathetically looked at me and said "This is my first."
How did six years of her life go by without a hayride? My first two children always had hayrides. This got me thinking about other childhood adventures she'd missed out on just because she is the youngest. One that immediately came to mind was Santa. While my first three, maybe even the fourth, had visits with Santa each year, I think last year was the first time Hannah got to meet him face-to-face (only because he was riding down our bock on the back of a firetruck, so I didn't have to do anything!) I blame this partly on the fact that over the years we have made a conscious effort to take the emphasis off of Santa and focus on the true meaning of Christmas. But still, those pictures of little ones all dressed up and sharing their wishes with Santa are a staple of childhood, no?
Then you have the "first-day-of-school pictures". In years gone by, I'd have shots of my first four, all cleaned and polished waiting for the bus in their neatly pressed school uniforms. Idyllic to be sure. Not so for the youngest two homeschoolers. First-day-of-school pictures , if we had them, would be the three of us, still in pj's sitting at the kitchen table with bedheads and sheet wrinkles on our faces! Not as idyllic.
What about grocery shopping? I have funny memories of shopping with a small child riding on the front of the wagon, a baby sitting in the wagon and wearing an infant in some contraption on my belly. Good times! Hannah almost never goes grocery shopping with me because there is always someone here to mind her. This makes my life a little easier; but I think grocery store outings can be a fun excursion for the littles. So now, I try and bring her along as much as possible. A little helper for me and little alone time with Mom for her. It works for both of us.
This brings me to the reason for this post. The reason I am so exhausted this morning. And the reason my cough has returned in spades. The Leonids. What????
Well, in thinking of activities we did with our older children, that maybe the two youngest have missed out on, meteor shower watching comes to mind. I know, we live in a suburb of Manhattan. Trust me the light pollution alone, not to mention the lack of wide open sky should be enough to discourage this pastime. But I can't help it. Dan and I are completely fascinated with gazing at the heavens. He has much more knowledge than I, and I have a bit more enthusiasm for dragging the whole crew outside at 3AM to wait for a the light show to begin. Here is a pciture of what I imagine we will see one of these years. Never mind that there is almost NEVER a light show! Usually we do catch a few comets streaking across the yard; but for most people this wouldn't justify sitting outside in the cold at 3AM with your kids. Coincidentally, last night was the optimum viewing night for the Leonid Meteor Shower. Guess what we were doing at 3AM? I have to say, I did see a beautiful meteor arc right over the house after only about five minutes of waiting. That really got my hopes up. Truthfully, though, we should have called it quits after that. But the kids were really excited, all bundled up in blankets and whatnot. It was more clear out than it's been in a long time, so we did spend time identifying a few constellations. Orion was in full view which was neat... in these parts we are happy to just see his belt! As a matter of fact, for most of my life, I though Orion's Belt was the whole constellation!
So, I am off to ponder more ways my youngest two are being deprived of childhood memories! And to correct the problem. At the same time, though, I do realize that in many ways, their lives are richer and fuller than the older kids BECAUSE they are the youngest and they have the older siblings. Not a bad tradeoff, to my mind!
Don't forget to make some great memories with your kids today!