Teagan, today you turn three. You are the youngest in a combined family of five kids and, per conventional wisdom, that means you get less of everything. Less new clothing and toys. Less pictures in non-existent baby books. Less attention from parents.
Everyone knows, of course, that the youngest kids get more of some things too – more screen time, more days between baths, more knee scrapes and more freedom to do the things the older ones weren’t allowed to do.
I find these observations to be half-truths in your case.
As the youngest in this group of kids, you experience less hovering from your dad and I, but get to experience a more carefree, playful attitude from both of us. You get less time at structured activities, like story times or preschool soccer camps, but more time playing hide-and-seek with us during our from-home work breaks. Our frustration with the terrible twos and threes has been replaced with laughter at your small but mighty meltdowns. We just shake our heads now, knowing these phases will pass as they did with the other four.
I look at all that you have, materialistically and intangibly, and I’m reminded of what life was like when each of your siblings was your age. Life is more settled now than it’s ever been for this family and you get to experience a smoother ride than your older brother and sisters. You haven’t been asked to be resilient just yet. You live in the same home we brought you back to the day after you were born.
Whereas the older kids have had to stumble along with your dad and I (and their other parents) as we all decided what paths we really wanted in life, those details were mostly ironed out before you came along.
These days your dad and I yell less and smile more. We’ve checked our preconceived notions of what you SHOULD be as a child and are letting you just be yourself. You have good days, and you have grumpy days, and a lot of days that fall somewhere in between. I’ve stopped wishing for the bad days to pass more quickly or for you to reach certain milestones faster (I was happy when we transitioned from diapers to big-girl undies though, I won’t lie). You’re you – today and tomorrow. You’re silly and intelligent and remember EVERYTHING. You’re growing up so quickly and are wiser than your age indicates.
So while you may be the youngest of this family, you are never neglected. You are loved, above and beyond what I envisioned for you when you were still growing in my belly. This life we started building long before you were born – your dad and I, your siblings, your grandparents, and the rest of our extended family and friends — is one you benefit from today. I’m thankful to give you this life, though humble, of safety and love. I will never apologize because you’re the littlest in a line of five children. On behalf of everyone who loves you, though, I will say “You’re welcome.”
Happy Birthday, Teagan. Thanks for lighting up our lives in so many beautiful ways.
Feature photo taken by Pineapple Photography by Jillian
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Tags: 3rd birthday