Today you turned 7 years old. Seven! Tonight, even as I write this, you and several of your friends are running like wild men through our house. They've been invited to your birthday party--your first sleepover! (You made sure that I knew that girls have slumber parties, but boys have sleepovers. Big difference.) Daddy and I are exhausted, but every balloon, pizza slice, and drained juice box is absolutely worth it for the big smile that you are wearing on your face.
I wonder how many more birthdays you will celebrate before I stop calling you my "little" middle? I would guess a lifetime's worth, but you're not so little anymore, are you? I became more aware of it over the last few months when people started commenting that you look so tall...and then you outgrew all of your pants to prove it. Your long legs and big feet are constant reminders that you are well on your way to dwarfing me!
First grade has been an adventure, hasn't it? God was good and blessed you with another fabulous teacher this year. Lucky for us, she is a sports fan. That has motivated you to enjoy the classroom and put forth a good effort at school. Otherwise, your grades might reflect your overall learning philosophy: If it's something that interests you, it's worth learning. Otherwise, you don't waste time on it. Same with reading. Every time we go to the library, you make a beeline for the animal non-fiction section. You know exactly which shelves house the books about snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and other creepy crawlies. Those books are pretty much the only ones you want to read...and I suspect that it's just as much for the pictures as anything else!
In spite of your limited repertoire, you've become a good reader this year. You read all of your own birthday cards today. What fun! I still remember when you first read Dr. Seuss to me. You've come a long way since then!
Aside from icky animals, your other two affections are still Star Wars and Legos. I cleaned out your closet earlier this week, and I could not believe how many teeny tiny Lego pieces I picked up! They were everywhere. Your creativity is astonishing, though. You will easily sit for an hour or more at a time while you are building something. I often find you sitting on your closet floor, surrounded by the small, colorful blocks.
I tried to steer you away from a Star Wars-themed birthday party this year, but I failed miserably. This is your third one in a row. I guess nothing comes close to the awesomeness that happened long long ago in a galaxy far far away.
Over the last few months the dynamics of your relationships with Goliath and Baby have begun to change. You and Baby still are (and always will be, I think) the best of friends. But as friends sometimes do, you get on each other's nerves. I see your desire to be included in more "big boy" stuff--namely, whatever your big brother has going on. Many afternoons, I am walking a fine line between giving you the independence you need and giving him the privacy he needs. Hang in there, buddy. Your time is coming. It won't be long before you will come and go with your friends and ride your bike around the neighborhood minus a parent. Trust me on this.
Our family dynamics have changed some over the past year, too. The Year You Were Six will forever be marked as the Year of the Sickness. How I hope and pray you don't remember it when you're all grown up! I have spent a lot of time feeling guilty over my perceived failures as your mother--like when I had to stop volunteering at your school, when I couldn't go on your field trip, and when I had to trust someone else to take care of you because I wasn't able to. But then I step back and take a good look at you. I realize that there are some things that life--cancer included--can not change: it can't change the fact that God created you to be exactly what He wants you to be. And He made you for me. No one else could be your mother. God picked ME. And you know what, Little Middle? I think I am the luckiest mom in the whole wide world.
You make me so happy, my sweet 7-year-old. And no matter how big you get, you will always be my Little Middle.