Stuck in the middle with you

nathanSweet Nathan. Fighting Nathan. Running Nathan. Always running Nathan. With that impish smile after you’ve done something rebellious that makes it so easy to forgive you.

You feel like you’ve been supplanted, don’t you? Move over, youngest child, you gotta make way for a new one — Jonathan, a toddler now, who hits and steals toys and sticks his tongue out at you like the best of them.

There isn’t any air in the room anymore, is there? Because Jonathan takes it all up. And now you’re stuck in the middle — just like I was, a youngest child who became a middle child when my sister was born. Even though I love her now, like the way you love air, like the way you love light-up shoes, we had to duke it out first. Determine our place in the hierarchy.

So you see — I understand some of the pain you’re going through. Even though you’ve followed all our advice and let Jonathan play with your toys (yes, it took a while but you did it), he still taunts you, driving you crazy by holding onto the bouncy ball for hours at a time and never sharing it, even sleeping with it in an effort to keep it from you.

(“I’ll just wait till he takes a nap, and then I’ll take it from him,” you say confidently.)

Just wait, buddy. One day the two of you will love each other so much it will hurt to be apart. When I’m hanging out and having fun with my siblings now, I feel a joy I just can’t get anywhere else. It took us a few decades to get there, but it was worth it.

Just wait, my friend. The hardest part, I know. It will happen to you.

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