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When our middle son was married, his older brother and best man gave a toast. He spoke of the dubious honor of being the first-born son and noted that, at one time in history, such a position would have guaranteed him a privileged status, and the inheritance of his father’s estate.

“Being the first born son in our family guaranteed me a guinea pig status and the inheritance of two rookie parents.”

It was a humorous, light-hearted toast – filled with hyperbole. Guests loved it. Mike looked at me as he recalled his first bicycle. He described my anxious face peering through the living room window as he pedaled back and forth, back and forth, in the safe confines of our driveway (the part about the leash was totally bogus!) And, how he later watched his brothers at the same age, pedaling their bikes out of sight with a road map and a compass.

Who knew he could still recall his first boy/girl party, or that his paranoid mother had visited the girl’s house beforehand and interviewed her parents? (In the interest of accuracy, it wasn’t really an interview; I didn’t take notes.)

Mike was on a roll; he even had vivid memories of learning to drive, while I hyperventilated into a paper bag in the passenger seat of our old station wagon. (That part might have been true.)

I was grateful he couldn’t remember the doting new mother who changed her infant’s outfit every other hour — or the ‘nervous Nelly’ who scrubbed the floor every other day when he learned to crawl – and ran ahead of him with disinfectant when he started walking. Fortunately, he didn’t mention mellow mother several years later who picked his baby brother’s ‘sippy cup’ off the floor, blew the dog hair off and stuck it back in his mouth.

At this point in his toast, Mike turned to the groom. “And now, you’re getting married – something I’ve never done. Good luck, little brother; you’re on your own! I’ll be interested to hear what Mom has planned for your honeymoon…”

I laughed along with the others as Mike finished the toast, then lifted my glass, grateful that he hadn’t included the really humiliating stuff…

Motherhood is definitely a work in progress. I’m sure I’ll get it right eventually — I’ve only been at it for fifty years…

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    1. Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

      luxury companions | 03/21/14 | 5:45 am
    2. Just lovely – thank you Mrs. Rowe.

      I think you’ve done a very fine job!

      Those pictures are wonderful.

      Clem | 08/17/12 | 6:26 am
    3. I can so relate to the guinea pig status, since I’m the oldest of 3 also, but in my case I had 2 younger sisters. My parent kept me on a short leash and had an eye on my every move. I wanted to spread my wings, they wanted to keep me wrapped in that baby cacoon. I also noticed how more laxed they became after my youngest sister was born and when they finally allowed me room to breathe and unhooked that leash… well it came at a price. I had to take my sisters along with me and keep an eye on them. lol I may not have liked it back then, but my parents did give me the authority to be the boss… so I guess it wasn’t so bad.
      Another trip down memory lane… Thanks Mrs. Rowe

      Sarah | 08/16/12 | 5:11 am
    4. Yes, Motherhood is a work in progress. And worth every single moment too. Something tells me that you have got it right though.
      Thanks for another wonderful blog Mrs Rowe and sharing some beautiful pictures to go with it.

      Ali (Bp.) | 08/16/12 | 4:52 am
    5. Very funny, Mrs. Rowe! But I’m sure none of us will forget the picture of Mike looking at you during your Lee Cancer Awareness speech—it was obvious then and there that you had gotten it right a long, long time ago! (And I’d like to add that I think the picture of the wedding couple here is truly one of the sweetest portraits I’ve ever seen.)

      Lisa | 08/15/12 | 8:00 pm
    6. Hi Mrs. Rowe,
      So much of what I read in your blog reminds me of how my mom handled us three girls. My older sister got pampered and spoiled; constantly wiped down after crawling, etc. I’m the baby…I was allowed to crawl through mud and maybe hosed down afterwards. Thank you for jogging my own memories (and great memories they were) of my mom & I in similar events. Loved this blog! Thanks Mrs. Rowe!


      Jennifer B. | 08/15/12 | 6:34 pm
    7. Once a Mother , always a Mother.

      Beautiful toast to Mike , your family and Motherhood


      Nice Pix , Love the period costumes

      cherryrn | 08/15/12 | 6:32 pm
    8. I relate to your story seven fold. Did you find yourself going back to the beginning when you started having grandchildren? It only lasted for about 9 months but I did the same as I did with my first son. I too am waiting to get it right. I guess that is what keeps me going most of the time, the reactions I get from my sons are never what I think they will be. They still keep me guessing.

      erc | 08/15/12 | 5:12 pm
    9. Thanks for sharing, Mrs. Rowe
      My mother says that motherhood is a never-ending lesson, from which one never truly graduates. Yet the schooling is so wonderful.

      PiaY | 08/15/12 | 5:02 pm
    10. I’ve been doing the motherhood thing for almost 9 years now, and if I look objectively at myself, I can admit to holding a different set of “rules” in place for child #1 than for #2. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone. (Especially with the dog hair.) Thanks again for sharing, Mrs. Rowe.


      Kon’smuddywoman | 08/15/12 | 2:21 pm