Judge me on my first child, please
On Sunday, I dropped off my oldest son, Ky, to yet another weeklong, overnight camp. I found this really cool journalism camp in New Jersey, at Rider University. It’s geared toward kids considering a career in journalism, exposing them to the profession, while giving them a real college/dorm experience. I thought this was a great find and worth the hefty price tag, considering in one year, he will be enrolled in college (God willing). The expectation that he will declare a major based off his very limited exposure to life is rather frightening. So, my hope is that he will come back tomorrow, from this weeklong camp, with some hands-on experience and insight on journalism, as a potential career.
Ky is the oldest of six, and I’d say he’s the typical, oldest child. He’s the leader of the pack: strong, outgoing, and naturally smart. He moves with a certain responsibility, as if he knows the rest are watching. He really makes me proud. He’s my first child, so I raised him “by the book”. You know, “The Book”. It’s the one with schedules, milestones, vegetable intake, and a daily reading requirement. With my first kid, I felt (and I guess I still feel) like I’ve got something to prove. The world is watching, and all eyes are on the first kid... the one with the young, naïve mother. I didn’t want to fail at that, and in fact, I felt determined to excel. (FYI. I’m a first-born myself.) One of my proudest mommy moments is when Ky skipped kindergarten and went right into 1st grade as a five-year-old, reading and all. Take that, Mrs. First Grade Teacher, who told me I was making a huge mistake. Me and Ky were two first-borns, up for the challenge.
Years went by, and I went on to have more children... but by the time my fifth son went to kindergarten, things were a little different. Not only was he NOT reading, but he didn’t even have a good grasp on the darn alphabet! Just tragic #smh. He had potential, but I was out of momentum! My running joke with the teachers that year was, “You know I’m a good parent, you’ve seen my other kids”.
As you parent, you start off strong. The first child gets the best of the parenting. They get the young energy and all the good intentions. You do the sight words and read two books every night. Then, more kids come along, priorities shift, and things get out of control. Eventually you realize, keeping kids alive is a milestone in itself. So, we sign the homework book, but we haven’t looked at a worksheet in weeks. We say things like, “I hope you know what you’re supposed to be doing”, because we have no idea. And there... right there... is where you’ll find the nonchalant, carefree attitude of the second kid.
Although Ky is at overnight camp giving me the “it’s alright” text responses, so far, he has learned interviewing skills, camera angles, and press conference tips. He’s been to a Phillies game, met baseball players, and chatted with an NFL executive. Enrolling him in this camp is yet another example of me doing my absolute best with my oldest child. I’m pouring into the mold that will show the world that I AM a good parent, while he leads his five brothers to victory. Now, by the time #6 goes to college, I may be blogging about the gap year.
Judge me on my first child, please.