when I found myself in the village of Boxes, just south of Boulder, Colorado.
I had stopped there, intending to stay only a little while. It didn’t work out that way.
The village was populated by ghastly, inhuman residents with the power to trap and hold me for days on end.
What I saw at first as I slowly surveyed my surroundings was Boring. No design committee had been at work here. Every structure had the same dull brown siding. The only variances—size and signage.
From small to large, each boasted a hand-lettered sign on the front, identifying the wares to be found inside. A tall garment house. A small store of cosmetics/personal items. Even one named Memories. Office Supplies. Food. Seasonal clothing. Kitchen appliances. Pantry items. Everything a person would need.
The seemingly endless array quickly became overwhelming. Yet I felt myself forced into spending more time there. One day followed another in hours of dark monotony. I wanted to be done with it.
Finally, the clouds lifted and I saw before me a sign pointing to a now-open highway.
I didn’t look back as I left. I had learned the hard-truth bottom line:
It takes a village to move a person in a New Direction.
The odds are that over the past ten years some of you might never have thought my book, “Oldest Daughters—What to know if you are one or have ever been bossed around by one would ever be completed. But that day has arrived! The book
The book tells personal stories taken from in-depth interviews with more than 100 first-born daughters, siblings, and spouses of various ethnicities. Asked why they had agreed to be interviewed, a common response was
“I want to know that I’m not the only one out there feeling this way.”
Another response (from a sibling) offered a different point of view:
“I can’t believe I’m the only person wanting to know how to survive an oldest daughter.”
First-born daughter revelations
The book’s stories reveal the impact of the first-born daughter’s role on her adult life, her siblings and family relationships.
Results are also included from an online survey of several hundred adult family members about their experiences and feelings. They provide additional insights into the pride and pain, resentments and hopes of oldest daughters and those who share their lives.
At the end of each of the ten easy-to-read chapters, a contributing clinical psychologist (who is my own oldest daughter) adds self-help Insights and Reflections for restoring or improving sibling and family relationships.
Birth order is a fact; It does not have to be a fate.
Oldest Daughters —What to Know… (available on amazon.com and as an ebook on kindle.com) affirms that changes are possible, potentially transforming and rewarding.
The response to her husband surprised me. He had called from the downstairs great room where we were sitting to his wife who was upstairs in their bedroom.
“We’re supposed to be there in 15 minutes. Think we’ll make it?”“I’m very almost ready,” she called back.
He chuckled. So did I.
It was an answer I immediately committed to memory. I loved the wording. Much better than what’s been said so often that no spouse believes it — “Just a few minutes more.” A vast improvement over the honest, but negative, “Not quite.”
Filled with hope.
I have begun to use this combination of of words in a variety of situations. Sometimes to describe actual progress. Other times to describe feelings.
I’m very almost finished writing my book. I’m very almost finished with Christmas shopping.
Or I’m very almost in love with you.” (That might not have been what my future husband wanted to hear when our dating became serious.)
Now I’m wanting to say, I’m very almost done with all the political talk on television, requests to write to my congressman, or (most often) send a contribution. Very almost.
I believe it’s still important to stay tuned in, to become/remain informed.But am I willing to do more than that?
To be out front or take a stand with others? To weather a storm of possible personal reactions?
Those who study such things say that oldest daughters are leaders, influencers. In our families and often beyond.
I’m very almost ready to decide what, if anything, the oldest-daughter side of me will do.