A Letter To My Middle Child: I See You

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middle child
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Dear Middle Child,

I see you sitting there between your brothers. You aren’t old enough to do all the things your big brother gets to do, and yet you seem fine with that. I kind of love the smirk that crosses your lips when he gets into trouble. You are making mental notes of what not to do.

You aren’t needy because I was never able to give you that kind of attention. I didn’t have the energy to hover because I was too busy trying to figure out how to raise two tiny humans at the same time. Your brother was running around like his hair was on fire, then I was trying to potty train him, and honestly, I can’t remember the rest. I can tell you enjoy that kind of freedom. You don’t need a lot of attention — you enjoy getting lost in your own divine world.

There are times when things just aren’t fair though, and it is hard, I know. But you always make the best of it. You get to be the big sister and the little sister. You get to be protected as well as a protector, and you do it beautifully. You are right between two boys who love you with all of their might even if they don’t admit it all the time. And because you didn’t get any time alone with Mama like your older brother did before you were born and your younger brother did after you went to school, we make the most of our special moments. I can tell they are precious to you.

I know it bothered you when I had to stop carrying you because a baby came into our lives just as you were learning how to walk. But then I noticed something about you: When you had to settle for taking my hand instead of being carried, you seemed so determined, like there was a fire that was lit inside of you. In no time, you were walking on your own, and you started reaching for me less and less. You wanted to do things for yourself. You wanted to blossom, and you hit milestones faster than I thought you would. You wanted so much to help out with your baby brother. You try hard, really hard.

Because of this, you have incredible strength. You are resilient. You know how to nurture. You know how to hear and accept the words “No, not yet.” This has made you patient and brave. You know that good things take time. You are also stubborn, you push, you try, you know how to be seen, and you appreciate. You love with all of yourself because you have so much to give.

You have changed me. You made my heart grow bigger than I thought it could. Before you, I had only loved one child. In fact, I loved him so much I wasn’t sure if I could love another like that — I didn’t know if I would have room. But I did have room. You gave me the courage I needed. You made me realize I could be a damn good mother to more than one child. I could share myself. I could fall asleep each night utterly exhausted with my heart bursting and know I could do it again the next day even if I didn’t always want to. You helped me figure out I could handle a third because you brought so much joy into my life.

You are such a gift to this family. Some people think that the middle child gets a raw deal, but you don’t. I can tell by the way you seem so content. You rather like the fact that there are two more siblings you can blend into. I know this might change one day (like maybe when your brother gets a car), but until then, my sweet girl, stay determined, patient, and resilient. Keep giving your gifts, because even if they get a little bit lost in this crazy family, they don’t go unnoticed.

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