Once a Baby, Always a Baby in the Family


We just returned from a family visit to Hubbard and Youngstown, Ohio. Which means that the minute our plane touched down at the Youngstown Airport, I went from being a 49-year-old mature, responsible adult to being the youngest.

I was always the youngest. The youngest of my siblings, which means I always got whatever I wanted. And even when I got married, I was the youngest and the newest of the daughters-in-law, which means I always got whatever I wanted.

When I was growing up, we would go - not often - to the Red Barn, which was the 1970s version of Burger King, offering us an aw-shucks alternative to McDonald’s. With five kids and not a lot of money, the rule was you could get either a hamburger and french fries, or you could get a Big Barney. I would whine that I wanted both, leaving everyone in my family with an ingrained memory of my 9-year-old voice whining, “But I want a Big Barney AND french fries!”  I’m sorry to say that I usually got it. Why didn’t someone reach into the back seat and smack me but good?

But I was the youngest, so I got my way. I got waited on hand and foot, people gave me things and did things for me because I was the youngest.

Cut to last weekend when Jack and Cary and I went to Ohio to visit family.  The Red Barn is long gone, having been replaced by The Best Little Hair House in Hubbard or some such thing, but I was babied all the same.

My mother-in-law sleeps on her couch and gives me her big fluffy queen sized bed when I visit. She tiptoes around in the morning so I can sleep in. She makes me coffee and practically spoon feeds me. I went to the lake and my brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law cooked me food, took me on boat rides, and brought me drinks. I went empty handed to my family reunion and mooched off all of my older cousins. And some younger ones, too.

I didn’t whine about my fast food choices over the course of the weekend, but there was a lot of this coming out of my mouth:

“Does anyone have any Tylenol?”

“Can I wear your perfume?”

“I didn’t bring any plates. Can we use yours? Oh, and where’s your cooler?”

“Can I borrow your car?”

“I forgot my cell phone charger. Does anyone have a phone I can use to make some long distance calls?”

“Can we get ice cream?”

Honestly, looking back on it, I’m such a baby. Maybe that’s why I love going back home so much. It’s fun to be little. I’m back home now, in my adult life, where I have to make the coffee, cook my own food, and even be the Mom a little bit. There are 358 days until next year’s trip back home. This time, I’m going to ask if we can go to the zoo.