Dear Middle Child…
I’ve been holding these thoughts in my heart for some time now, not wanting to say them aloud for fear they will incriminate me, make me the worst kind of mother. The kind of mother who steps on your toes because she didn’t see you there or the kind of mother who wasn’t present to witness your first t-ball hit. Who didn’t see the way your eyes lit up and how you looked around, searching for someone to celebrate with.
A mom who wasn’t there.
Tonight I’m talking to you my middle child, while you are nestled safely between your bed covers, breathing heavily and dreaming colorfully. I’m saying all the things I feel and believe, because one day you might start asking questions. Am I loved? Am I noticed? Am I valued? It might be tomorrow or it might be years from now, but dear middle child, I want you to know the truth.
You are precious beyond measure.
It can’t feel good being forever sandwiched between siblings—an older brother and sister who are so involved in activities that they keep our whole family on the move, and a younger brother whose nickname is “Quite a Handful.”
Your birth was as easy as you are—simple, sweet, and uncomplicated. I should have known that you would be the quiet one, so docile that the other voices in this house regularly drown you out, like grown dogs to a puppy.
I know you get dwarfed, lost in a crowd, often underfoot, and at times overlooked. But I also know you are strong. And brave and resourceful and kind. You give and seek peace and those are qualities that will extend well beyond your tender years.
Do you know what research says about you? Middle children learn skills that make them strong leaders. You have secret powers that your siblings do not have.
You are unique, special.
In your young age, you are learning the skills of a negotiator, navigating the waters of your bossy older siblings and your demanding younger one. You are a diplomat, a savvy peace-keeper, a future liaison.
Research also says that middle children develop more resilience and scrappiness than other children. When they see mom is busy making little brother’s sandwich, they get out two slices of bread and make their own. Middle children also handle disappointment better than others. Believe me, the world is full of that. Middle children pick themselves up, brush off, and keep stepping.
One thing that continues to astound me little one, is your bravery. I might not tell you often enough, but you are courageous. Remember how you begged me to sign you up for t-ball, even though you knew I was coaching your older sister’s team and wouldn’t be able to see many of your games. I’d drop you off with a water bottle and a hug and hope you could remember every single detail to tell me about it later.
You knew that, and still you said, “That’s okay Momma. Sign me up.”
You are brave, and forgiving, and I love you ever so much for that.
Thank you! You are a vital part of our family and don’t you ever forget it. My sweet, beautiful Middle Child: you are a miracle and a phenomenon. You are not your brother or your sister, but your own wonderful person and I cannot imagine my life without you in it.