My Dear Middle Son,

From the beginning, your life has been marked with a sigh of relief.

As your parents, we already went through the new-parent-of a-son-thing with your big brother. The gift of your babyhood was refreshingly calm. The surgical option presented to parents of baby boys? Already decided. The clothes for you to wear? Already have them. The bedroom for you to sleep in? With your brother, of course.

When your little brother arrived, I gained another perspective on your life. Our firsts as parents belong to your big brother. Our lasts belong to your little brother. But our chances to simply celebrate the moment belong to you. We celebrate your life, sweet middle son!

New beginnings with you bring joy rather than fear and uncertainty. Endings bring excitement instead of tearful goodbyes. (Although, as your mom, I reserve the right to cry anytime I want!)

You might feel overlooked in the middle. You might get tired of wearing hand me downs. It gets old hearing teachers sing your big brother’s praises. Dad and I see that. We see you, dear middle son. Your place in our family is a challenging one. For your entire life, we’ve asked you to relate to your big brother and your little brother. Sometimes you’re a teenager, sometimes you’re a playmate. I’ll bet it’s hard to figure out who YOU are, when you’re constantly changing roles within our family.

And yet—here’s the thing. You are the glue holding our family together. When you aren’t around, big brother and little brother don’t interact very much. Their age gap seems huge without you there. When the three of you are grown, I imagine you will be the one to bring them together. With you as the glue, our three sons will be brothers and friends, long after we are gone. That brings great comfort to me as your mom.

This month we will celebrate your 14th birthday. 14! You are in the home stretch of middle school, and on the brink of high school. You’re in the middle there, too. There’s a lot to figure out in the years ahead, lots of new freedoms within your reach. Your little brother sees this, and he’s struggling a bit. He senses a loss coming his way. So as you keep growing up, can I ask something of you? Lead him well. Continue to be the amazing young man God created you to be. In your unique way, I’m confident you will find a way to grow up without the two of you growing apart.

My dear middle son, you are not my first. You are not my last. But you still make my heart soar with each of your firsts, and my heart bleeds with each of your lasts. I see great things in store for you. You are a young man with integrity, a great sense of humor, and a thoughtful, quiet spirit. No wonder little children are so drawn to you. You’ve been drawing us all in from day one.

As you chase your dreams, we’re cheering you on! We’re also sighing with relief.

Sarah Luke

Born and raised in Chicagoland, Sarah now calls Nebraska home. She’s been married for 19 years to Derek, her college sweetheart. They have three sons—one in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary school. She worked as a registered nurse before staying at home full time with the boys. Maybe someday she will go back to nursing, but for now she loves keeping up with her family and enjoying the moments set before her. Swimming and reading are her favorite hobbies, along with boating and camping. She’s quick to point out that she camps in a camper, and leaves the tent camping to Derek and their boys!