We’re walking down the street together, just me and you. My middle child. Even though you’re now a “big, grown-up 6-year-old,” you slip your hand into mine and skip along beside me. “I really love you, mom,” you say. Walking hand in hand, I cannot believe I get the privilege of being your mom. I see you, buddy, and man, do I love you too.
When it’s just you and me, middle child, you chatter my ear off about what you’re building and what the clouds look like and “MOM DID YOU KNOW that you have to put the elevator in first when you build a skyscraper?!” When it’s just you and me, you get to be all of your brilliant self and I get to give you all my unhindered joy and attention.
You fall smack dab in the middle between two very large personalities. And all too often, my sweetest middle child, you get drowned out by your siblings’ hullabaloo. Missed in your genius between their loud(er) brilliant selves. You adore your big brother and alternate between friend and frenemy with your little sister — and, most of the time, joyfully go along with whatever they are doing. Your thoughts, passions, and voice, overpowered by theirs. You, peaceful and quiet, lost in the middle of all their chatter.
But baby boy, I see you. And man, do I adore you. Not in the same ways I love your brother, nor for the same reasons I love your sister. But because of who you uniquely are.
You are one of the most relational kids I know. You are fiercely loyal. You feel things incredibly deeply, weeping before your mama at most of the Disney movies we watch. You choose the relationship with your siblings again, and again and again — no matter how many times they blast past you. You value people, even when they overlook you.
You hate conflict with a passion. But you will fight for what matters to you — if your sister dares to touch your prized starfighter LEGO, for example. You greet your friends with enthusiasm and joy — but anything that is “just yours” is fiercely defended. It brings me so much joy to give you little things, that get to be “just yours.”
I love hearing your voice — hearing the things that excite you and bring joy to you. Our walks together, just you and me, are some of my favorites. Even though you don’t always speak over your brother and sister, please believe me when I say your thoughts are every bit as precious to me. I’m listening, buddy — I want to hear what you have to say. You have a voice, and while it’s often not the loudest, it does have important things to say. Your thoughts are deep and smart and come from unspoken observations about the world around you.
If you want to, you will grow up to change that world. Not because you’re the loudest, but because you know what matters and what doesn’t, and you’ll build something brand new that’s better than it was before.
Even though others may sometimes overlook you, baby boy, please don’t overlook yourself. The world sees the loudest and the boldest first — but it needs your relational leadership and wisdom. You are more of a leader than you realize, just not in a loud way. You lead by relationship and joyful intuition and reflection. And we need more of that kind of leadership. I see you, buddy, and I love what I see.
Keep on keeping on. The world needs more middle kids like you!