As a parent, I am totally not supposed to admit this. But of you three kiddos, my thoughts are with you the most. There you are, stuck right in the middle of Grant and Lily. Being a middle child already has its own challenges. But you are between Grant, the autistic artist whose medical record reads like an episode of House, and Lily, well … you’ve met her. Nobody that bossy can grow up to be anything but president. Plus, she’s much younger and the only girl. (Although, she didn’t have the warmest welcome from Grant. Remember how he was convinced we were bringing a baby pig home from the hospital? He was totally disappointed. In hindsight, we probably should have specified.)
But I am getting off topic. I want to tell you about my theory. The way I see it, you are in the coolest part of the sibling sandwich. You’re like the peanut butter and jelly between the bread. Which actually describes you perfectly. Kinda nutty but really sweet.
I have worried constantly that you might not get the attention you need and deserve. I hold each and every one of your successes in my heart, because they help me realize that you are growing up to be an incredible person. In spite of all. And that maybe you won’t need years of therapy.
For a few years, you pretty much lived at Riley with Grant and me. When you were three, you asked me why you had so much hair. You had noticed that was the exception around there, not the rule. You would spread your Thomas trains all over the floor during chemo and we made you a blanket nest when Grant was inpatient. You used an IV pole as a skateboard. God bless those nurses.
Daddy and I tried to keep things as normal for you as possible. But I think our best was pretty sucky. And it still included way too much time at a hospital. I feel like you’ve had to grow up too fast. Sometimes we need your help with Grant and Lily, and that can’t always be fair to you. Because even though you are technically not the big brother, you really are in so many ways. And you do it beautifully. I can already see that you will always protect your baby sister and stand up for Grant when he needs it. And he will.
I am so proud of you, dude. You are going to be an amazing man. And that success will be all yours, but I will borrow that one too. And I will hold it close.
I know you feel sometimes like you are stuck in the middle. But I promise I will always be right there with you. And if you need therapy after all, I will totally go with you. Maybe we’ll get a two-for-one deal.