Archive for December, 2012

Auld Lang Syne-ing New Year Resolutions

December 31, 2012 2 comments


Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?

That line from the perennial New Year’s Eve anthem, Auld Lang Syne (old long since),  brought to mind a recent incident — one I’m betting many of you are familiar with.   A woman came up to me at a holiday gathering and stood directly in front of me.  After a moment or two, she said, “You don’t remember me, do you?”  Before I could stammer a reply, another person fortunately stepped up with holiday greetings, and the first woman melted into the surrounding group.   Unfortunately, I never saw her again and still have not figured out who she was.  But the incident started me thinking.   What auld  acquaintances have I forgotten that ought to be brought to mind?  

I thought of my auld-est acquaintances — my self and my siblings.  We’re all adults now.  What do I, as the oldest daughter in my family need to bring to mind to renew or keep what is best in these auld relationships?  And so…

My New Years Resolutions for 2013: 

Love my (whole) self.  Avoid multi-tasking.  Enjoy the individual moments.

Show and tell my siblings they are important to me.  Affirm their individual strengths.  Wait to give my opinion until/unless I’m asked.  Throw out any grudge that wants to steal this new year.

Take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.  

pat's new year's blog


From Santa’s Secret to Secret Santa Joy

December 25, 2012 Leave a comment

It is Christmas morning. In our living room,  the Scotch pine is laden with individual icicles glistening in the glow of multi-colored lights.  Just in front of the tree are two toy strollers, each carrying a  curly-haired baby doll.   Seeing them, my three- and four-year old  sisters squeal, “Santa came! Santa came!”  My mom looks over and winks at me.  We’ve been successful conspirators.

At age eight I’d been entrusted with keeping the identity of Santa secret; and I had even gotten to help pick out the strollers!  I felt big and important.  And I liked the feeling I experienced seeing my little sisters’ excitement.

I’ve thought  of that Christmas morning in watching  news stories about Secret Santa or Ann Curry’s “26 Acts of Kindness” Campaign  and the joy brought to unexpecting recipients of such generosity.

I was too young to realize at age eight what every Secret Santa knows — that there’s more joy in giving than in receiving.

Merry Christmas!

Tree trimming, choice words, and oldest daughter responsibility

December 21, 2012 1 comment

ImageOn the December 20 broadcast of ABC’s “The View,” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck delighted the audience with the tale of what happened when she gave each of her three young children their own small-sized Christmas tree to trim as they’d like.

The youngest took Elisabeth at her words.  While she was out of the room he began literally  — scissors in hand — trimming the pine needles off the tree.  When she saw what was happening, the stunned Mom said her first instinct was to ask Grace, her oldest child/daughter,  “Why didn’t you tell him …. That’s your job!”

     But those words never hit the fast track from mind to mouth.  Instead, snapping a photo of the “trimmed tree,” Elisabeth converted the incident to a charming, humorous family Christmas memory. Sharing the story with an obviously seasoned audience of parents, the co-host acknowledged she should have used the word “decorate” instead of “trim” in giving instructions to her children.
      I so enjoyed the story — especially because I believe it shouldn’t fall to oldest daughters to take over the things that are a parent’s responsibility.

Seasonal Songs for Oldest Daughters

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment


It’s the most wonderful time of the year 

The winter holiday season is  widely heralded as the “hap-happiest” season of the year.  What often goes unsung is that for a lot of oldest daughters the glories of holiday dinners long, long ago can raise both expectations and stress levels.

Over the hills and through the woods to …

Whose house? Who has the rights to or the responsibility for the annual family dinner?  Who is the keeper of the traditions? Who gets to plan the menu?  The ingredients for putting together the traditional family holiday dinner can become a recipe for competition unless the family’s first-born female is

Makin’ a list  and checkin’ it twice 

Who’s bringing what? Who’s the fixer and who’s the cleaner-upper?  Make sure everybody gets a role to play in this holiday drama and acknowledgment for their part.

My dreidel’s always playful.  It loves to dance and spin. 

The lyrics of this  traditional Hanukkah song include “And when it is so tired, it drops… Even children can figure out what happens when someone does too much — even if it’s what they love doing.  Letting others in the family help out doesn’t take away from anyone’s traditional role.  It may mean more families get to sing

God rest ye merry oldest daughters.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

©Pat Schudy, 2012

A Cue for Oldest Daughters from Secretary Clinton?

December 2, 2012 1 comment

It came as no big surprise last month when President Obama sent Hillary Rodham Clinton to the mid-East to help negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza.  She is, after all, Secretary of State.  Plus, she brings to this cabinet position her experiences as both a former First Lady and U.S. Senator.

What may not be widely recognized, however, is that long before she exercised her negotiating skills on the world stage, the current Secretary of State was gaining competence through another important, but largely unheralded position.  She is an oldest daughter.

Now I have no way of knowing if or how often the Rodham household benefited from any compromising arranged by Hillary as she was growing up with two younger brothers.  But it seems probable that, if she is  like a lot of oldest daughters with younger siblings, the Secretary may have learned early on how to take the lead in resolving conflicts.

I’m hardly suggesting that this type experience qualifies the rest of us for international diplomacy.  I am suggesting that we may have overlooked a career for oldest daughters that would utilize generally unrecognized strengths.

If  the idea of becoming a certified negotiator/arbitrator/mediator sounds interesting to you, check out the courses offered by your local college or university.  Doing so could lead to a challenging and rewarding  position in one of several areas including core, civil, domestic, juvenile dependency or parent/adolescent disputes. It’s a career for which you might be well-suited.