The school year has started. My elementary school age kids are in full swing. My preschooler has kicked his year off. All that leaves is my kindergartener. They ease kindergarteners into the whole school thing where we live. He will have a couple of half days this week before he too, joins the ranks of full-time student.
Yesterday for the first time in history everyone was at school except for him. He was home with Mom for the day. In the past whenever he was home, his baby brother was home as well, but not yesterday. The realization that this was the case got me thinking. Do I give him the love and attention he needs?
That may sound strange but I worry. I am fascinated with the whole family birth order thing. I have read books on the subject. I am well aware that no one has to be a slave to their birth order. You decide your life. BUT I do believe that often times our position in the family determines our roll.
Let’s take my oldest. She is not only the oldest but she is the only girl. She was adored from the day she was born. The first child and the first grandchild. How could she be anything but amazing? We reveled in her every accomplishment. We still do because she is the first to do anything new.
Then there is my oldest son. He may be the second but he is the oldest of three boys. This kind of gives him a pass as the oldest child as well. He was the first son and the first grandson. He is the first BOY to do everything. We all know that boys are very different from girls.
Then let’s skip to the baby. As much as you may try not to, you are probably going to spoil your baby. You know he is the last. Everything he does warms your heart. He is the last to wear diapers. The last to talk baby talk. The last to start school. You try to make him stay your baby for as long as possible. And if your baby is like mine, he accepts that role and uses it to his advantage as often as possible. I know he is hugging me extra hard to get an extra piece of candy and I don’t care. Because when he stops being a baby, then I no longer have one.
So that leaves my middle son. My middle child. What about him? Where does he fit in exactly? He was only five months old when I discovered that he was having another sibling. Did he get to be the baby as long as he should have? I have often worried about that. Before long he had to hand me over to another baby. And he did. My middle son was the easiest baby for me to deliver. He was my least demanding baby. He was my happy-go-lucky baby. There is not a single baby picture of him where he is not smiling.
As it turns out now, he is still my happy-go-lucky child. He is helpful. He is the only one who does things to help me without being asked. He even holds doors opened for me. Every single time. I have never asked him to do that. He just wants to. He has a way of melting my heart like none of the others at times. Is this because he is the middle child? Did he have to learn these skills just to be noticed?
So yesterday it was just the two of us. He was happy to be the only one home. We went to the grocery store. He helped me gather things from shelves and place them in my cart. He thought of things that we needed that I had left off my list. He was super helpful.
Afterwards he asked if we could go to his favorite restaurant, just the two of us. Now for those of you with multiple kids, you know that being with just one of them changes the whole dynamic. All of your focus is on that child. It is actually a weird experience. You seem to notice things that you would normally miss. I try to have one on one time with my children but with four it is not always easy.
As we sat there I watched him. He ate his entire meal with a smile on his face. I could tell he loved me watching. He loved the attention. Maybe because it was the first time that I was able to stop everything else, in a very long time. We had pleasant conversation. We even talked about the upcoming school year. He assured me that he was not nervous. I believed him.
After our meal we returned home. I told him we would do anything that he wanted. This was his day. We played with Play Doh. Then we played board games. Any one and every one that he could find. It was as if he was trying to squeeze everything into this one day. He was going to save this day in his memory. The day it was just him and Mom.
My middle son touched my heart yesterday. I think back to when he was a baby. He was nothing but a joy. He still is. He asks for very little and expects even less. It is as if he understand there are four of them. How could one little boy be so wise?
I may spend more time helping his older brother and sister with homework and even though I often have to help his little brother do things that he can’t yet do for himself, I want my middle man to know how much I love him.
I love him for being who he is. I love him for being a joy to raise. I love him for doing things for himself and others whenever he can. I love him for taking care of me. I love him for his determination and will. I love him for his positive attitude and infectious personality. But most of all I love him for his smile. His beaming, beautiful smile. He lights up every room he enters and my whole world.
I hope you are not lost in the shuffle. Without you my heart would not be complete.