I cried my eyes out this morning. My wife had already left for work, but I scared the shit out of the dogs. Guttural sobs while I leaned against the cold steel of the kitchen sink, staring at the wintery backyard through flooded eyes.
God, it hurts.
It is a familiar trigger – struggling with my children’s struggles. This one especially so because he is my reflection, and yet so different at the same time. Like me, he is the middle child. Unlike me, he doesn’t say much. Like me, he craves to be accepted. Unlike me, he won’t ask for help until it is crisis mode.
Ok, I guess that is a little like me…
It’s bad enough that he struggles (even though I know they can be blessings in disguise). But to be a parent is to be by his side, to let him know I am there for him while staying out of his way in his struggle. To allow him to find himself in his flailing and moaning. Yet, I complicate it by projecting my own stuff into it and I make his struggle mine. Fuck, this is hard.
No different than he, I want everyone to be happy. I want everyone to get along. I am the middle child who is a parent of the middle child. And I can’t do this for him.
2 thoughts on “Middle Child”
Rick, this is a beautiful post, well-written and with so much meaning and emotional significance. Thank you for sharing your experience as a father, once a boy, of a son.
Thank you, Martta. Writing Middle Child has indeed been cathartic for me.