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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cherishing the Middle Child

She says:

“I’m not the oldest.

I’m not the baby.

I’m not the kid with special needs.

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What is special about me?

Do you love me?

Do you really understand me?

Do you really like me?

Do you even hear me?”

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What do I say to her?  How do I make sure that this middle child, the one without learning issues, medical issues, dietary issues, or the need to be reminded to use the potty gets the attention she needs and deserves.

How do I cherish her for who she is?

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First, let me say that I believe that all my kids have special needs.  I know, someone’s going to jump on me and say, “Doesn’t that mean nobody really has special needs?”

I know that “special needs” has come to mean a particular category of children, but I’m using “special” and “needs” here in a different way, not as a title for talking about a particular type of child.  And I say it as a Mama to a little boy who is that particular type of child, so I think I know what I’m rambling about.

Special means unique.  Particular.  Having to do with a particular individual. And needs are things that are required.  Or something that is needed, but lacking.

So when I say that all my kids have special needs, I mean that each of them, as individuals, have needs that are particular to themselves.

Each of my children is utterly unique in temperament, personality, strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes.

Each of them has needs that are special to him or her as an individual.   We are raising individuals here, not a school of fish or a herd of antelope (don’t ask me where that came from).

Not the typical, average children (average children don’t exist, btw).
 
But these particular, individual, unique, special children.  Yes, some have more (or more dire) needs than others, but all have some needs that are special to them.

God, in His clear, unfaltering vision sees straight through to their hearts, sees this, and loves them in their uniqueness.

So often, as a parent, I look at our kids and I see the collective our kids, not a group of individuals with different needs.

But the oldest often commands my attention by virtue of being the oldest and the tallest and the hormonal 12-year-old.

The youngest often commands my attention by virtue of being the most likely to turn my kitchen into a waterpark.

The special needs kid commands my attention simply because he has very obvious needs and is quite vocal about them.  Everyone gets that he has special needs.

But there’s another child, another individual, another precious soul in my life who doesn’t really get her very special needs met at times.

My middle child.

This is for you, Mary.  Mama prays that she will do better.

Yes, you are special, just as you are, just as God created you, and I will treasure you always.  I just need to learn better ways to show you that.

Do you have a hard time meeting the special needs of all your kiddos?

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