Written by Emily
This summer, Sylvie, my 2 year old, is in a wedding. A few summers ago, Noah was a ring bearer.
I have three children.
Yesterday, while I was out to dinner with my girls, a stranger came to our table, remarked at how beautiful Sylvie was with her red hair, and then left.
I have two daughters.
Rewind. Repeat. Rewind. Repeat.
Again. And again. And again.
I want to hold my middle child in the air like a scene from The Lion King and shout, “Do you see this girl? This girl! Do you SEE her? Do you see the way her eyes sparkle like sunshine on wheat? Let her smile take hold of your insides until you feel queasy with love, and try to just walk away then. Listen to her. Her wit and insight are treasures you’ll miss if you walk away so soon. This girl! Do you even SEE her?”
I want to say that and a million other things because she is my girl…too. But Chloe handles it. She swallows it or something.
Thankfully, there are people who know, people who’ve felt the atmosphere shift a bit when Chloe’s near, people who’ve waited one breath longer to catch her remarks like kids catching fireflies in summer–awestruck by their light.
My cousin sidled up to Chloe on a day there had been a lot of “oooos” and “ahhhs” about this summer’s wedding. With their shoulders touching, she whispered to my girl, “Will you be in my wedding? Will you be my flower girl when the time comes? We can go dress shopping together.” The date for this event isn’t even set yet, but my cousin wanted Chloe to feel special. It was important to her that Chloe knew there would be a time for her.
I didn’t see Chloe’s reaction, but I’m sure she smiled. And I’m sure her occasional shyness made her back curl, and she wanted to fold into herself for a minute to catch her breath. But below the surface something bigger was brewing.
Chloe’s joy is like lava after a volcano’s initial eruption, it oozes out of her for days, for weeks. And when I least expect it, it covers us.
Days later she spontaneously announced in the car, “Did you know I’m going to be a flower girl?!” She beamed.
The back seat was glowing, but it was just Chlo.
When she got out of the car to go to school, there was a bit more air beneath her feet because: flower girl, dress shopping, a big girl noticed her–just her.
Because of birth order alone, Chloe will follow Noah’s footsteps to school, but she won’t try to fill his shoes. She’ll move through the same halls, but the pace will be uniquely hers.
I want people to notice her, not because she shares her big brother’s last name, not because they caught sight of her little sister’s hair shining like a red sun, but because they felt the atmosphere shift a bit when Chloe was near, because they waited one breath longer to catch her remarks like kids catching fireflies in summer–awestruck by their light.
There is a special place in my heart for those people. It’s right in the middle.
For a lovely tribute to her middle child, check out Liesl Testwuide’s To My Middle Chile, You’re the Good Stuff.