She’s rarely the first to do anything. She wasn’t the first one to walk, talk, or ride a bike. She rarely got marveled over in that “wow – look at that – one of our OWN offspring is capable of all that” way. Her older sister beat her to that honour. She’s also not the last one to do anything. She’s not the one whose baby cuteness is held onto for as long as possible because there will be no more of it after she’s done. She’s never had her cute toddler sayings recorded for posterity on her mom’s blog. That would be her little sister’s place.

She’s the one in between – the one who is not celebrated for being first or last. She’s the one the birth order experts say is most often overlooked. Sometimes, the birth order experts are right.

She’s my daughter Julie, the in-between child. Though she is marvelous in her own way, she rarely gets the spotlight for being a marvel. It’s true, I know it, because I am often the most guilty of overlooking her.

Last week when I wrote this post about Nikki and then this one about Maddie I saw it happen once again. Julie got overlooked. It’s not on purpose – it just happens that way.

So the express purpose of this post is to marvel at my in-between girl.

Perhaps part of the reason I tend to overlook Julie is that, in many ways, she is the most like me. In the good ways and the not-so-good. She is smart, stubborn, adventurous, disorganized, spontaneous, fun-loving, opinionated, and easily distracted. She loves to do things her own way and rarely gives up until I let her try. (You’d think I’d know by now that I should just let her try the first time she asks instead of engaging in a battle of the wills, but I’m a slow learner. Plus I’m just as stubborn as she is.) She loves to cook, but she does NOT want to be Mom’s helper – she wants to be Mom’s BOSS. She bakes cakes by herself and has even cooked a meal or two. (And she’s only nine.)

She is a whiz-kid at school. Few things challenge her. She told me the other day that she’d never made a spelling mistake on a test, and I’m inclined to believe her. When she’s supposed to do homework, she asks “Mom, what’s the point, if I get all the answers right the first time I try?” She has a point. I’ve often said that she didn’t “learn” to read, she just “absorbed” it. One day she couldn’t read and the next day she was reading novels. She read ALL of the Harry Potter books by the time she was eight years old. (Okay, so that’s not QUITE true – the last one came out a month after her eighth birthday and by about 4 days after she’d bought it with her birthday money, she’d finished it.) She often reads a novel per night – we have a hard time keeping her in books. There are many, many nights when I’m on my way to bed that I have to remind her “Julie – it’s time to turn out the light now.” As I do it, I’m reminded of the same gentle tone my dad used when he’d say the same thing to me. Readers tend to understand readers.

Julie LOVES to play games. That’s one of the few ways that she’s not like me – or any other member of the family. She begs and pleads the rest of us to play games, and once in awhile we agree, but not nearly as often as she’d like. Nobody else cares much for games, other than Maddie whose games are at a slightly different level. (Too bad we don’t live closer to ap or grandma – we’d send her over to one of their houses for game night now and then.)

When there’s fun to be had, Julie is often first in line. If I’m looking for a fun, spontaneous family thing to do on the weekend, I usually turn to Julie as my first ally because she’ll almost always be game. Yesterday, when she was looking through the paper and saw all the fun things going on all over the city because of the Grey Cup, she said “Mom, let’s make it our goal today to not be at home ALL DAY.” A girl after my own heart. The whole family ended up at The Forks because of Julie’s nudging.

Some day, I can imagine myself travelling the world with Julie. What fun it will be to don a backpack and head out on an adventure with my marvelous fun-loving daughter!
This is not the best picture I have of her, but I like the way her personality shines through. The slight sneer on her lips is pure Julie.

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