Found Again

on 17 August 2011

My sisters and I are all together out in Utah this week.  We came together to attend Education Week, but really it's about this girl:

the one on the right...

She's my sister's only daughter and she's starting school at BYU this Fall.  Sherry brought her out to help her move in and get settled.  She also had to get her wisdom teeth out.  (She's currently nestled under a pile of her cousins in her bed.  I was just in there and it was so sweet that I went back to my room to hide and cry a little bit.)

Because I've been thinking a lot about being the youngest in a family.  I'm the youngest of four.  My two older sisters (whom I idolized growing up and I'm sure I made them absolutely insane) and then my brother (whom I also idolized but for different reasons).  My sisters have always teased me quite a bit about being the youngest and being spoiled, and I think to a certain extent, maybe it's unavoidable.  The family dynamic changes, and as the chicks fly the nest, the ones left behind get more and more time and attention and so yes, they get a bit spoiled.

And yet.  I think what Sherry didn't see when she was younger, but what she's seeing now with her own children, is just how hard it is to be the youngest.  Sure, you might be spoiled a bit, but you're also the one that's always left behind.  Whether it's left behind while the older kids go off to play, or left behind for schools and missions and marriages.  It's a lonely place to be.

And as I watch my nephew play around his sister, and my own Boy play with his cousins, what I wish I could do is take them in my arms and whisper this secret in their ears.  What I've learned as an adult, who is still the youngest child, is this:  there is nothing lost, that may not be found again...if sought.

Through my twenties I despaired of ever catching up with my sisters, of ever getting to be close to them.  They were off having a life, while I seemed stuck in perpetual youth.  I thought that they had just slipped through my fingers like the passage of time and once gone, they were just gone.  But here, in this lovely place in my thirties, we have all found each other again.  If someone had whispered this secret in my ears so many years ago, I wouldn't have believed them.  And so I whisper it here, and continue to hug and kiss my nephew and nieces and Boy and trust that in the years that are coming, they will all find what they once thought was lost.