Being the mother of all of these lovely girls is as challenging as I always say it is. Somehow parenting just kind of happens everyday though whether you’re up for it or not and although you may plan for certain things, you can’t plan for everything. When I started having kids so many years ago (or so it feels) I wasn’t sure on the number we’d have but as we continued to plan for them and they continued to arrive I never really assessed how exciting yet disappointing it might feel to be a child in our home. While there is never a moment of silence or a sense of stillness there is some sort of comfort in being in a house so full of life. While that last statement may ring true for me it seems to frustrate the girls many times. Lately as I watch my middle child trying to climb to the top and shine through so much commotion she seems to be struggling. Although there are technically 3 middle children, she is the true middle child coming 3rd in the midst of 5. I think it’s safe to say that she gave up her position as “baby” without her consent and in doing so gave up things she wasn’t ready to.
As their mother I try so hard to allow them the spotlight they yearn for but it pains me to watch their bright glow diminish to just a faint glimmer of light when their timing is off and I’m running thin on patience and energy or one of their sisters is having a moment. There was once a time when the middle child was the life of the household. She carried an energy that couldn’t be ignored. She loved to make people smile and laugh and she offered protection to her older sister. I used to joke that she should have been the eldest as she was always so comfortable and bold when expressing herself. These days it seems like she just struggles to even be noticed though and that her timing is never “right”. Her once musical voice has turned babyish and while I know she is just looking for attention I can’t help but cringe and feel aggravated when I hear my “big girl” whining. Yesterday was her 8th birthday and of course her baby sister has some sort of stomach virus that started in the night, continued yesterday, and is still present. This meant I wasn’t up to going anywhere or doing much of anything with her and although I allowed her to make her own cupcakes, it was obvious that she was disappointed and maybe even felt a little cheated.
I know that some people have the “she’ll get over it” mentality and other’s feel bad for her but the truth is I am somewhere in the middle. I can’t be everything for everyone at every moment no matter how hard I try but I do try to give them my best as often as I can. I know that there will be other reason’s to celebrate her life, presence, and accomplishments but I can’t imagine it feels good to be cheated out of the spotlight. Although I can’t give her yesterday back I’ve made a clear note to myself that I need to schedule time for each one of them and that I need to do it soon. As babies grow into toddlers and toddlers into children and children into young adults and young adults into adults the need to feel wanted and to belong doesn’t really change. I don’t want my children to grow into young adults who are seeking the wrong kind of attention and I know that if they don’t get what they need at home there will be someone else outside the home more than willing to give it to them. We have what seems like both a long yet very short road ahead of us. I know that even when I’m tired and challenged, having happy, healthy daughters is priceless and well worth the sweat and tears that being a parent sometimes brings. Here’s to getting my middle daughter back on track and to getting all of her sisters to move over and make room for her.