A Letter To The Middle Child On His 21st Birthday

Fishing in Kenai with Dad. Kenai, Alaska. 2005. Photo: JAH

My Dearest Boy,

You have been the one who gave me the least to worry about, but yet–I still worry. You have proven that studies of middle children, and people lied when they talked or wrote about the middle child syndrome and all of its characteristics.

You have never been one to fit the mold. I’ve known this to be true because the stars aligned for when you were born.

You have been most kind when you entered in this world. You allowed me to enjoy the Masters, and watched a young man name Tiger Woods compete that day. And, when they gave him the green jacket to wear–a historical moment in golf–you decided to let me know that it was time. When your Dad and I arrived at the hospital, I asked them to give me all the pain killers that they can find. The nurses told me that it was too late, and that I had been in labor all day without knowing it. See, my darling, you were kind even before you took that first breath in this world, and you did take your first breath four hours later.

Tiger Woods won his first Masters that day, and I had a feeling that you were meant for something more than I could ever comprehend in this life.

I expected you to be like all babies: wailing non-stop, unhappy when not fed, unhappy when your diaper is soiled. But, you were not all that I expected. I could barely remember your cries in the night, and I can remember only one instance when you cried in your crib, and it was because you wanted to be held.

I expected you to be like all toddlers: bratty, snotty, uncontrollable. But, you defied these expectations. Instead, you were loving, helpful, and observant. I remember you sitting in your car seat in the back of the car, and you were about four years old. We were running errands, and you said to me, “Mama, in our lives before, I was your Dad. You were naughty! Now, I’m your baby and I can be naughty!” I understood then that you and I had plans in this life. And, you did find ways to be naughty. I could never forget how you stuck a small piece of Reese’s pieces candy up your nose, and I attempted to not panic in the bathroom as we tried to pluck it out of your nostril. You were smart. You inhaled that piece of candy and walked out of that bathroom with no cares in the world, as I stood there trying to capture my breath while being thankful that I did not have to dial 9-1-1.

I expected you to go through your elementary, middle, and high school days with chaos. Instead, you became this phenom that proved to be one who can overcome any challenge thrown in his path. If given the chance, I would watch you on the sidelines of a soccer field all over again: summer, spring, or winter. You were the middle of the two book ends that oftentimes got overlooked because of your reliability, independence, and this preference for peaceful co-existence between your siblings. Unless, of course, one of them irritated or annoyed you.

You have been quietly relentless in the pursuit of your dreams. You were never one to boasts about your achievements, and you are the epitome of a humbled human being.

So on this very day of your 21st year, I wanted to tell you that I believe you and I must have been good friends in our past lives. Our souls may have been traveling along side each other interchangeably as father or mother, brother or sister, cousins–even. Whatever those lives may have been, I want to thank you for choosing me to be your Mama in this life.

It has been my bountiful joy to be able to watch you grow from this tiny human being to this amazing young man who continue to express kindness, compassion, and love in this world. And, as Winnie the Pooh said “As soon as I saw you, I knew an Adventure was going to happen.”

Happy 21st Birthday My Darling Boy.

B in 2003. Photo by JAH. Fairbanks, Alaska.
First Soccer Game. 2002. Photo by JAH.
B during a CSU-Pueblo Soccer Game. Photo by CSU Pueblo, 2017.
The Middle Child. 2018. Photo by his Mother.

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