Yesternight my son Toriah asked me to tuck him in and to stay with him a little bit until he fell asleep. At the time I was feeling tired and irate and the baby was fussing needing to be taken to bed among a zillion other things that needed my attention. But one look at his hopeful face made the decision easy for me. He was my number one item in my to do list. My husband Tony took over the fussy baby and stayed with Tj to watch soccer while Toriah and I went for a moment of bonding. It was great fun and though we did not have a DLT (deep long talk) the moments of connection were there and I realised that I had not spent some alone time with my middle child for quite a while.
Being a first born, I really don’t get the middle child story. Like Tj, I have had no issues making myself heard, whatever it takes. As a child that worked for me, whenever my sister and I were caught in mischief, I could often talk my way out of it or have her take the blame somehow. Between me and my baby brother, it was easy for my sister to get lost in the middle; a story that I can see wanting to take shape in my own family. A story I am committed to stop. When Thayu, was born, Toriah was really excited he badly wanted a baby sibling, but I don’t really think he thought of how that would affect him as he was no longer the baby. I have seen his struggles, trying to accommodate his baby brother and yet deal with his feelings of displacement.
At ten, he intellectually understands what is going on but emotionally, he was the baby for too long for the adjustment to be that clean cut. I remember him asking me, when he came to see the new baby in hospital; “Is it true mommy that now the new baby is here no one cares about me anymore?” A comment he had heard from his big brother during one of their numerous fights. I reassured him that this was as far from the truth as anything could ever be. “You are lucky Toriah”, I said “Tj is only a big brother and Thayu is only the little brother, but you are both big brother and little brother.” That seemed to pacify him and yet I am sure the feelings of anxiety were not totally removed.
That is why yesterday’s connection was so important for both of us; for Toriah to reaffirm his position and for me to spend more time with this child of mine who is undemanding and yet needing to be heard. Just communicating to him that he matters, his issues are also important and that mommy is as there for him as she is for the baby and his big brother. I read a quote earlier on today that I believe sums up the importance of this bonding time:
The profession of motherhood is all about influence. You and I have an incredible opportunity to influence the next generation by what we do as a mother every day. This is why intentionality is so important during the years that we raise our family. Intentionality increases influence, and influence is something God asks us to be intentional about. In Jill Savage's words, "we cannot underestimate the power of mother love, the value of home and the significance of our intentional presence in the home".