I didn't understand you.
Dear middle child,
You came into this world screaming. You were far more emotional than your big sister and I was not ready.
I used to joke with my friends about how you were "born a middle child." I'd say this because you demanded my attention…all the time. You were quick to cry, and when you cried the depths of your sadness were more than I could have ever prepared myself for.
No matter how much time, love and attention I wanted to give to you, it never felt like enough. This coupled with how demanding you seemed of my time, my body, my constant affection, made me feel that, at times, motherhood was just too much for me.
Your big emotions triggered emotional repression from my own childhood. A childhood where I was not allowed to cry loudly. I was not allowed to carry on. I was not allowed to be destructive in order to achieve attention.
But then I had to parent you. And you did all of these things.
You cried. You had tantrums. Heck, a few times you even peed on the floor in order to let me know that you needed me to simply be with you.
And I didn't understand.
I didn't understand why you were not calm like your older sister.
I didn't understand why you couldn't occupy yourself, if even for a little bit.
I didn't understand that when you were born I placed invisible expectations on you to be someone you are not.
I didn't understand that you came with your own blueprint, regardless of what I was already accustomed to in motherhood.
Then, your baby sister was born. In an instant you went from being the youngest to becoming an older sibling. In an instant, you had to learn gentleness and harness the ability to be quiet at my will.
It didn't matter that you were only three. It didn't matter that you were still a baby yourself.
In an instant, my expectation of you was to know what it meant to be an older brother. I expected you to understand boundaries that were brand new for you. I expected you to act more mature. I expected you to know that you were not my baby anymore. And for this my child, I am so sorry.
Again, I didn't understand.
I didn't understand that you didn't know how to adjust to becoming an older sibling.
I didn't understand that your transitions needed time, respect, and patience.
I didn't understand that you were feeling lost in the mix of our family dynamic.
So, this note, this is my apology to you, my sweet middle child. I am sorry that I didn't embrace you for you from day one. I am sorry that your early life had expectations about how you should act based on what I was used to and willing to examine within myself.
I am sorry that your big emotions triggered me and that I had a difficult time remaining calm during your own personal storms. I am sorry that I never got to spend one on one time with you when you were a baby.
I am sorry that you never got to know me as I embraced motherhood rather than resist the chaos that was coming my way. I am sorry for all the ways in which you witnessed me lose myself in motherhood and for the ways I responded to you when I did.
And while I have a list of reasons to feel like I have failed you as a mother, I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for you, my dear middle child.
I thank you for taking on the burden of bringing me to my breaking point.
I thank you for taking on the role of the middle child, knowing that you may never get to enjoy the best of me in my motherhood.
I thank you for understanding that you are not the oldest, you are not the youngest, but that you are perfectly fit in our family just as you are.
I thank you for sharing your big emotions with me so that I could turn a mirror on how big emotions feel for me.
I thank you my dear middle child for taking me to extremes so that I can learn to find myself back at center.
Your birth has been the catalyst for my growth. Your personality has given me the green light to heal my past. Your place in my arms may be in the middle, but my love for you will always take up my whole heart.
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