I’ve never been this close to a middle child before, but now that I have one, well there’s a lot of truth to the myths you hear. And my empathy for Jan Brady has grown by leaps and bounds the last few years.
Our middle child is our ultimate peace maker and friend to all. She cherishes her sisters’ love and appreciation and gives to each of them endlessly. She lets Eloise control the wheres, whys, whats, and hows – what the plans are, where they are going, the games they play, and when they do it – almost always on Eloise’s time. And she lets Astrid take most of the snuggles, the long bedtime routines, controlling the shows for the baby cartoons, the space on mom’s lap, a big slice of her attention for the last four years.
And this middle has done it with grace and acceptance and a smile for most of her life.
But nine is changing things. She’s using a word I’ve never heard from her. NO – to her sisters and to us. She’s giving herself permission to voice an opinion when she’s never expressed one before.
Typing that sounds awful. I hope it hasn’t been. She has just always ‘gone with the flow’ and has seemingly done it with a laugh and a skip in her step. Now I wonder if that was okay or if she’s been bottling up her angst for years.
Not that she seems angry now. She just seems strong and is using her voice.
And saying no more often. As well as voicing what she wants to do and what’s important to her.
When I think about it, even many of her toys and interests were all things that Eloise liked, and I think she felt like she was suppose to like and do the same things.
But today, Esther is nine and she wants you to know…
She doesn’t like riding horses. Sure, her sister is obsessed, but she’s not interested.
She loves all animals and honestly(and don’t tell her sisters), our cat prefers her over anyone.
She hates the Rainbow Loom – and all jewelry making – and all small motor type toys. Her hands can’t do the things that her sister’s can – and instead of ending up just getting frustrated, she is just saying “I’m not interested in that.”
She loves books about fantasy and sci-fi and wishes her sister would stop suggesting realistic fiction to her.
She doesn’t like riding a bike. So stop asking her to learn.
She’s an amazing tap dancer and she doesn’t care that you like jazz better. Tap is cool.
She likes scary movies. She wishes her sister would just go to bed earlier so we could watch more. Eloise hates scary movies.
She likes to ski fast. She hates to turn. She likes to just go straight down as fast as humanly possible.
She doesn’t care if her hair is messed up, her clothes don’t match or if her shoes work with her outfit.
She’s a good friend and loyal to the core.
She likes fruit and sushi and all vegetables and steak. She wonders why Eloise and I don’t like meat.
She doesn’t like math even though she’s good at it.
She’s very affectionate and still tries to fit on my lap. You can see the sadness in her face when she doesn’t.
She randomly comes up to me and touches me, hugs me, and tells me that she loves me. She doesn’t care who hears.
She doesn’t care about technology. Has never used a laptop and has never asked to, and is the last person you’ll find using the iPad.
She’s the first in the kitchen to ask if I need help making dinner or setting the table. And the first to volunteer to fold laundry.
She likes to go to bed early and stay in bed late into the morning. Like wants to sleep in like a teenager. The girl likes to sleep.
She never asks for anything.
But now I need to do a better job of asking her what she wants to do, what she wants, and what she likes.
I don’t want her to live a life of just going with the flow, as the peace maker, as the middle.
Because our Esther is such a pure and special person that needs to be heard.
And at nine she’s finding her voice. My job is to help her use it and to guide her how to make it louder.
Because nine is just the beginning.
Happy Birthday Sweet Esther-Boo. I love you so much it hurts.