Morning rises. The newly borne dawn begins the day with heavy fog and low-lying clouds. Threatening rain. The air, so heavy with moisture, feels like a vapor bath. A quick look at the forecast reveals thunder showers and lightening are in the forecast for later this afternoon. Not what had been predicted on yesterday’s radio weather update. Today, important events are planned: an eighth year birthday celebration is on the agenda. We cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Although the weather has put a damper on my expectations for the day, the birthday girl seems nonplussed, going about her morning play with calm assurance. The sun will come out! It will be a day of dreams realized! And lo and behold! One hour before the party, the sun bursts through clouds, full of hope and promise. Just as she expected. Oh ye of little faith.
A day of promise stretches before us. Just like this middle child of mine for she is a promise in the making. A child of hope and possibility. Potential.
My beautiful daughter is coming in to her own these days, having starred the lead role in the school play and led her class with the highest grade and reading levels. Earning a gold star at her first music festival performance, she excels at whatever she tries her hand at. She is a team player, a solo singer, an ardent reader, a promising writer. I love that she tells stories, intricately weaving prose like a spider weaves her web. She is a craftsman of the written word, a child after my own heart.
This child, I often wonder about. Worry over. Fret for, a little. Am I forgetting her in the midst of a chaotic home life shared with three other siblings? One wishes time could be freeze-framed, and each day could be lived four times over. So that each child would be given the benefit of Mom’s undivided attention. Not realistic, I know. But how special would it be, even once in a lifetime! I am all too aware of that middle child syndrome. I have purposed to be equal in my attention with all my four. But sometimes one slips under the radar. The child that demands the most attention often gets the most consideration in the moment. The oldest is anxious, the youngest a scamp. The second from the top has always sailed right through, a generally good natured, personable young lady. And then there is this one, my middle child, not one to demand our affections. Quiet by nature, prone to introspection.
Over the past year, one way the middlest sister was able to carve her own niche was to write love letters to us individually, and leave them on our pillows. One she wrote me last year said this, “Dear Mom, You are the best, you do everything you can to be the best mom you can be!” A gift of encouragement. I love that in a person, and how wonderful to see it developing in one of your own. She is gifted in other ways. She received several awards this year for helping out other children in her class. Her teacher shared that often she would take two students from one grade level lower and read to them, one child on either side. A little guy in her class told his mother, “Sarah is so beautiful. She is like a princess. And she is nice to everyone!” That makes my heart sing. To have it said that your child is kind- there can be no greater tribute.
My children are all exceptional in their mother’s eyes, and each one holds a place designed specifically for them in my heart. At different times, I am drawn to focus on them for specific needs they might have or issues that may concern them. I am particularly sensitive to my middle child, at this moment in time, because I realize that birth order matters. It tells us something about the child. Middle children often feel under-appreciated by their families, as they are sandwiched in between the older children and the youngest. They often have the least amount of pictures in the photo album. They tend to look for value and appreciation outside the family. They often feel displaced.
I was fore-warned about the middle child and it was enough to make this stubborn mama try to swim against the tide. To endeavor to be consistent, fair and as equal as life allows. To be a good mother, “doing everything I can to be the best mom I can be!” So to my middle one, my sweet Sarah: I am determined to keep you close. To hold you a little longer each night. To lavish you with pictures, even as I did today when recording the events of your birthday party. To be a sounding board for you, keeping your deepest thoughts and quiet reflections inside the circle of your family’s love. Loving you in the best ways we know how.
Always keeping you in the middle of the action, the excitement; in the middle of whatever plans we make together as a family. Right in the middle. What a special place to be, my not-so middling Sarah.