On vacation, it became very apparent how much power she wields over her youngest siblings. She and my 10-year-old son were doing time in the "way back" of the suburban (the most undesirable seat in the vehicle), when I hear quiet discussions about eating chocolate Twinkies. The general rule in our house (which extends to the car on vacation) is that the kids need to ask before eating something, otherwise they would eat junk 24/7. Well on this particular car ride, I noticed that my son was eating a Twinkie without asking. When I asked him about it, he said, "But Second Mom said I could have it!' My eldest daughter had given him permission, and he truly felt like her word was law. I think she could have told him he could take the suburban for a spin and he would have grabbed the keys and ran.
Our Western Adventure was pretty long, and involved lots of togetherness and volume. Our family is not quiet or diminutive, and things can get crazy fast. My 17-year-old gal takes so much of it in stride, and often joins into all the insanity. But other times, she theatrically flops on the floor, or curls up in her seat spewing dramatic statements such as, "I can't believe this is happening to me!" and "What did I do to deserve this?" and "I'm so done!" and "I'm sorry to inform you - all my limbs are broken!". She cracks me up constantly, and she rarely gets truly frustrated with her family.
During our trip she composed the following list on a napkin, of
Things I No Longer Want To Hear:
Goog and all variations of the word (my eldest son's COMPULSIVE nickname for his youngest brother)
Lego Batman quotes (such as, but not limited to: "The Monkey and Dawg are friends!")
LAX is Life (constant references to Lacrosse)
Shooter gun noises from my 10-year-old's plastic gun
ANYWAY! I'm Bleb (my 15-year-old son's catchphrase for her, said in a ridiculous voice)
She got her driver's license right before we left on vacation and this morning did her first long solo drive. My heart was in my throat as I prayed for her (and her brother) while they were gone. But she did just fine and gained some new confidence. It's just yet another step in her growing up. I see great things on the horizon for this girl. I can't wait to see her continue to mature, and someday, mother her own children. I've generously provided with her lots of opportunities to practice parenting!