You came into this world and taught me love I never knew. I worried my heart could never hold the love you deserved. Your brother had already filled my heart to the brim. Then you arrived, and I learned a mama can grow a new heart and fill it just as full as the first. I loved you as much as my soul could bear. I watched your brother love you, and it was almost too much to handle.

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You filled our home with delight and showed us you needed to be seen and loved and taught differently. Your overwhelming sweetness threatened to break my heart into pieces. Your spirit was soft and tender and you quickly took on the burdens of others.

I watched you grow and become your brother’s playmate. Watching you love each other filled my life with joy and made everything feel right.

Before I knew it, another brother came along. I stayed occupied feeding, changing and rocking. Everything was busy and hard. Life was overwhelming. In the midst of that season, you grew from a toddler to a big boy behind my back. I didn’t give you permission, you just went on and grew, and I missed it.

You were no longer my baby, you were now my middle child.

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I wonder what it’s like for you, being stuck in the middle. Are you pushed to grow older? Are you pulled to stay small? Are you expected to mature quicker than your years without the privileges that come with age?

You have always shared everythingyour room, your toys, your parents, attention, and even your gorgeous red hair. Your brother gets new things as he grows, and you settle for his hand-me-downs. No matter what you do, does it seem someone has already done it, and someone else will soon accomplish it, too?

Do you feel like there isn’t room for you? Do you worry your feelings are too big? Too loud? Too much? Are you frustrated you must fight to be heard?

I’m so sorry, if life is unfair to you, my love.

Sweet boy, I know it’s so difficult being stuck in the middle.

But, I believe in my heart of hearts that there is beauty in the middle, just as there is so much beauty in you.

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For you, the world is different with a big brother to pave the way and a little one to care for. You are nurturing and tender, independent and strong. You know how to forgive and be forgiven and how to give, receive, and share. You know selflessness and can put the needs of others before your own. One day, you will see the unseen and hear the unheard and will know how to speak up, fight adversity, and handle conflict.

You will always be the one who showed me I could actually do this mommy thing (it wasn’t a fluke, after all). And you, my son, are the one who taught me to open my heart for more love than I’d ever known.

There is beauty in the middle, my dear, and there is beauty in you.

Nicole Lasley

Nicole is a wife and a mama to three energetic boys, a Licensed Massage Therapist, and loves sewing, writing, and cheesecake.