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This morning, I had a girl home with me. My middle child. There have been so many times she has felt sick, and she’s had to either sleep on our floor or stay in her bed because her little sister didn’t understand why she was getting kicked out of the bed and would scream at the top of her lungs. So many times she is schlepped to soccer practice or musical practicethat’s not for her. She has to stay after school for an extra 15 minutes at the end of her long day to pick up her older brother who has a later dismissal time. 

RELATED: Your Middle Child Can Break Your Heart the Most

I notice these things. Of course, I do.

I’m a mom. 

So, when she fell off her hoverboard while she was waiting for me to come for a walk outside and I was tending to one of my other children, I felt the weight of that middle-child-always-waiting thing and just wanted to cut my sweet beloved princess a break. 

She was exaggerating how much her wrist was in pain. I knew she was. My son has had a broken arm before, and I know what that pain looks like — screaming-on-the-verge-of-barfing kind of pain. She was just tired. Tired and trying to be patient and feeling left out, and it all bubbled up to the surface. 

So, today?

Today, I kept her home from schoolher and her sore wrist.

She came and helped me in the church nursery where her favorite 3-year-old played with us. I made her favorite lunch. I sat with her while she did her homework. We went to the doctor where he tenderly told us her wrist was going to be just fine. 

RELATED: Sometimes the Middle Child Needs a Little Extra Love

Having my child home today from school really didn’t have much to do with physical pain. It had almost everything to do with a need to feel seen and heard.

Sometimes a kid just needs to feel like someone is focusing on just her and her needs.

Today I got to do that. For five delicious hours.

Tomorrow, it’s back to school. Back to chaos and inevitably needing to sometimes put her needs (and let’s face it, the other kids’ needs, and my needs, and my husband’s needs) on the back burner. 

Of course, life’s not about getting all the attention all of the time. But today we needed a mom-and-daughter day, and I’m so glad we took it. 

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Vanessa Dueck

Vanessa Dueck is a stay-at-home mom to three imaginative, beautiful, infuriating children. When I'm not playing UNO, you'll find me running trails and dreaming of qualifying for the 2024 USA Olympic trials! 

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