Do we have any middle children in the house? 🙋🏻
Stockton and I are both the middle of three kids. But our personalities don’t necessarily follow traditional birth order psychology (OK, mine is birth order to a T, but Stockton is in a league of his own, always mature and responsible and VERY UN-MIDDLE-CHILDISH). This year has been an interesting one with our precious Knoxy. He has been dethroned as the baby of the family, he had some behavioral challenges that warranted a change of school, and in the most general terms of all, he’s three. Three is hard. (And all the mamas of 3 year olds said amen).
Knox, like all of my children, holds a very special place in my heart. He was my life raft when I had my stroke three years ago, and his gentle, beautiful spirit as an infant was exactly what I needed to nurture my mind and body back to health after that crazy trauma. And now that he is my middle, he holds a special place in my heart because I feel like I can relate to him in ways others cannot. I get what it’s like to constantly want to be like your older sibling and hang out with their friends and wear their clothes and do what they do and try to keep up. I get the love he has for his younger sibling because he is now regarded as a “big boy” and not a baby. I also get that it sucks to not be the baby anymore. It’s a hard change, filled with a lot of privilege and pride, but also slightly tainted by resentment; of not being old enough to do the big boy stuff, but of being too old for infantile behavior. So there he is. Smack dab in the middle, and trying to decide what his role is. I get it.
I am so sensitive toward Knox because I was him. And not to say that being a middle kid was so hard for me, but because of my (very textbook) personality, I developed a bit of a reputation that I’ve had a hard time outgrowing. Certain people remember behaviors I exhibited as a child or teen and refuse to let go of those. I am remembered for tantrums; for poor choices; for being “spirited” which was the nice way of saying “strong-willed” or “naughty.” And while I have thick skin and can handle that, I desperately want to support Knox however I can to nurture those tendencies and enable him to be a host of WONDERFUL THINGS thanks to that strong, passionate personality. I don’t want people to remind him of that one time he did that one thing all those years ago. I don’t want his place in our family order to leave him labeled.
So today, his first day of Summer 2017, here are the things I want to note about Knox and remember so that I can remind him of them for years to come:
- Knox sees beauty. He is always pointing out beautiful flowers, ladies in pretty dresses, and sunrises or sunsets. We make a habit of stopping to smell the flowers, and it is one of my absolute favorite things about him.
- Knox loves having his back rubbed (so did I when I was a kid). Every night when we pray, he says “RUB BACK!” before I even mutter a “Dear Lord…”
- We have staring contests and he always loses because he can’t keep a straight face
- I’m pretty sure he has a crush on me, and I’d like to keep it that way as long as possible
- He always raises the octave of his voice when he talks to Brighton, and it makes his already raspy voice sound so sweet. I wish I could bottle it and pull it out whenever I need a pick-me-up.
- He always puts his shoes on the wrong feet and when I tell him he did it backwards he says “I know, I like it like that.” So if you see him walking around with shoes on the wrong feet, it’s just his signature style.
- Knox loves to sing.
- Knox loves being alone with grown-ups, time away from his siblings.
- Knox loves playing imagination games with his brother. As I write this, he is the kid and Navy is the Daddy and they are “going to the marina.”
- He always admits when he’s tired; a trait I can appreciate in a kid.
I’m excited for a summer full of growing, more change (hello, new house.. already praying for how we all adjust to THAT major transition), playing and making memories. But I must admit, I was a bit sad walking out of his school yesterday because it has been such a perfect place for him these last 5 months. His teachers welcomed him with such loving and open arms, and they always assured me he fit into their classroom as if he had been there from the very first day in August. Whether that was always true or not, I’m not sure, but they set my anxious mind at ease, and for that I am very thankful.
Knox is my precious three year old boy and I desperately want him to bloom where he’s planted. So I’ll continue to water his roots, build forts, rub his back, point him back to Jesus and call out the things that make me proud of him. He will do great things.