An Open Letter To My “Favorite MiddleChild” On His Birthday

Unlike your brothers, giving birth and raising you never scared me. You were a fussy baby for a few months yes, but you settled in and scheduled yourself without any effort from me. That’s just who you were, and who you remain. You fit so right, so perfectly into my heart, like you were some extension of me. Your personality bubbled and overflowed with silly boyness, and now has become such immeasurable kindness, comfort, and love I don’t understand how in the world you’re my child. I’m selfish. You think of everyone else first. I’m not patient, you wait for appropriate times. 

I’m timid and anxious. You tell me there’s nothing to fear. 
I’m afraid my dear, ive failed you. 
You see, I’ve always heard we need to raise our children _______ way or do ___________ for them and teach them ___________. But here I am eight years later, your Mom, and you have taught me so much and raised me up to be what you needed me to be. For you. You never forget to leave room for daily grace as I stumble through our lives, hoping to get it all right, one day. 
You live, and I’m alive. You smile, and I’m happy. You help others, I stand in amazement. You’re this incredible miracle, a maker of magic, you have so much to give and you never give up, not for anything. 
Not even on me. 
I love you so dearly and pray time will stop, just for a little bit, so I can take it all in. Put difficulty aside, and see what is so right. What is wonderful but temporary. What I know must be recognized, before it’s gone and I wake up to see I have missed it. 
I focused on confound worries instead of the reality of priceless wonders; these flash before me like old projector films. I don’t want to have to cope with knowing I lived around it, this life with you, instead of engaged, soaking it all in to the depths of my heart. 
My love, I know you will grow up (and maybe one day I will as well) leaving this season behind us (though not quite doing so as well) in a mad dash to adult identity and the discovery of your passions. As you rightfully should. 
I would never dream of holding you back; I will most assuredly stand and support you, in whatever calls you. Whatever lights everything inside you up. With joy. With fulfillment. 

Even if it hurts to let go. 
I think letting go is a complex concept. It doesn’t mean forgetting. It doesn’t mean dwelling or not dwelling. It is keeping all that you once were as a memory (and triumph!), all that you are now as wisdom, and all that you will become as an expectant, steadfast promise. 
Life was lived in each and every season, and the next one will surely be just as full, moving, raw, powerful, and miraculous, as the others have been. 
On your birthday, especially, I pray you know what you hold in you. You are not just “the middle child”, best or otherwise. You are not invisible, I see you and fiercely love you as a whole- flaws and all. You are not who you are because of what you do, not even because you’re great at doing your school work or listening to instruction or scoring goals in soccer (though I’m proud!) or helping with chores without complaint. Not even because you take great care of your brothers, looking after them with a watchful eye, when necessary. 
If nothing else, please know that. 

We are going to fail. All of us. If you believe who you are is made worthy by what you do, trust me when I say you will wander aimlessly. Wandering can be wonderful, but not in the vain of hopelessly doing so. Allowing soul depletion. Unhappy. Un-purposefully. Without expectation or the enlightenment to see all you need to utterly thrive, you already have. 
I love the compassionate and helpful things you do; but even if they didn’t exist, you could never ever, ever, even for a minute disappoint or fail me. Never is there a way, a decision, or a developed personality trait that can remove your soul and all its love, from mine.
You are who you are because you exist. You live with all you have inside of you. 8 or 98, you are my son, and all I am is because of you.
Although she referred to her romantic partner in this quote, I find its truth to be remarkably accurate still: 

  .g so. Allowing soul depletion.  could never ever, ever, even for a minute disappoint or fail me. Never is there a way, a decision, or a developed personality trait that can remove your soul and all its love, from mine.
You are who you are because you exist. You live with all you have inside of you. 8 or 98, you are my son, and all I am is because of you.
Although she referred to her romantic partner in this quote, I find its truth to be remarkably accurate still: 

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