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Challenge: Raising Siblings

Ain't nothing easy about being the middle child

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Dear Son,

Ain't nothing easy about being the middle child.

Not that I would know, 'cause lucky me, I was the baby growing up.

But, from what I've heard and read, you middle-of-the-roaders sometimes feel forgotten.

Or, possibly worse, squished or squashed by your sibling counterparts.

Add to that, the fact that your squishers are both extremely chatty, attention-demanding, control-seeking females, and I can only imagine you might feel like the lone slice of ham inside of a pressed Cuban sandwich.

But, not only do I love me some toasted deliciousness, the ham is my favorite part.

And, although it's not parentally correct for me to claim to have a "favorite" child, you, my steadily funny little man, are my heart and soul.

You are a humble, confident fella who enjoys being playful and adorably goofy when you know people are watching.

And, when they are not, well, you are curiously quiet and cutely pensive.

You're freakin' adorable.

And, you're helpful, curious, thoughtful, and insanely creative.

You're also intelligent as heck and have so many talents.

And — here's the kicker — you love me, your father and your sometimes annoying (your words, not mine!) sisters so very well.

And, if I can offer up this conjecture, I think your middle spot in the kid hierarchy contributes to your uber-compassionate, attentive and giving nature.

My dear boy, there is something so incredibly amazing about your meaty position and role in this family.

Not only are you the second man in command, but you also have the unique privilege of being both a big AND little brother.

In your role as a big brother, you have the esteemed privilege of protecting, guiding, teaching, aiding, befriending and unconditionally loving your insanely energetic, pretty needy, bossy, but captivating little sister.

In your role as a little brother, you receive the undeniable benefit that is being the one protected, guided, taught, aided, befriended and unconditionally loved by your incredibly bright, gifted, first-rate, tenderhearted older sister.

I can't think of anything better than being in a sandwiched by these two.

Actually, I can; it's being sandwiched by all three of you.

So, I guess you could say that although I've never been a middle child, I am a mom, and, well, I know what it feels like to be surrounded — and, at times, overwhelmed — by so much semi-maddening goodness.

It may not always be easy (or comfortable) being the middle child, but when you think about it, life is so much more delicious and enjoyable when love, affection, and forever-reinforcements encircle you.

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