Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.- Confucius
The company I was working for had recently announced that they were moving to Los Angeles. We’d just set up house in Atlanta, there was no way we were moving to California. Since they gave us a year’s notice before the office would close, it was a good time to have another baby. The siblings would be born 2 years and 4 months apart. With expert timing, I could get the baby here just before the company separation notice. The thing I remember the most about this pregnancy is that I was eating oranges as if they were going out of style. I was polishing off 5 pound bags very quickly. I had the opportunity to spend one month giving onsite support to the team that would be assuming our positions in California. The downside to this was I had to leave my oldest son in Atlanta. (This was traumatic. I am still not good at saying goodbye to my guys.) The upside is that it gave me an opportunity to earn the deductible we needed to pay the doctor.
The pregnancy was uneventful until the last trimester and my baby stayed head up. I could feel him trying to turn. He’d turn as far as my waist and then go back. The doctor determined that we needed to schedule a C-Section because all types of wrong can happen with a breech birth. I remember leaving the doctor’s office upset and concerned. Riding to pick up my oldest, I noticed a graveyard close to the street. I’d driven by that spot many times before, but this time I read a few of the headstones. One of them marked a baby’s grave. I took that as my sign that I should definitely go through with the C-section. What a relief to hear that first cry. It turns out that his umbilical cord was wrapped around his shoulder and which prevented him from turning. Due to some careful planning, I was able to stay home for 10 months with my newborn and 2 year old. Being a stay at home mom was wonderful.
When you have a middle child, it is so important to focus on what makes them special. Don’t concentrate on how alike or different they are from their siblings. I hope I was successful at this. There was one year when he was in school without either of his siblings. It was a year of just him. I asked his teachers not to refer to him as either of his brothers’ sibling for this one year. In fifth grade he was paired up with a young lady in a county wide science competition. The event was aerodynamics which meant you had to land a paper airplane on a target. They were allowed to practice and took turns sailing the plane adjusting the design each time to secure the perfect landing. It felt as if they each sailed that plane over 50 times. Every time his teammate through the plane, he would retrieve it, make the adjustment and hand it back to her. He stayed focused and kept encouraging her. I stayed close but didn’t interfere…although I wanted to tell her that she was more than welcome to go get the plane herself. They worked well together. He encouraged her every step of the way and when the awards were announced, they’d won second place. It was the first time that our school placed in the Science Olympiad as far as we knew. These confidence building opportunities were invaluable in creating the person he is today.
They say that babies that are high need, end up being very loving adults. This certainly ended up being true with my middle son. My A has grown into a fearlessly competitive, compassionate and supportive young man - very much his own man with a humble sense of confidence. He has his own sense of style, approach to life, and is always ready to come to his friend’s rescue. Happy 5-squared birthday, my darling!