Dear Ye Whom Shall Never Be Named,
(unless you know me in real life and then you probably know exactly which child I'm referring to)
You were such an easy baby, one of our easiest in fact. We thanked God everyday for the gift of your life. You grew a little to become a funny toddler and had a crew of siblings ready to laugh at your every move. And you were (are!) so smart. You seem to have a deeper understanding of the world than somebody your age should. You would use this wisdom to make funny remarks or ask sometimes inappropriate questions, anything to get a laugh. You were our class clown for sure.
This got you in a lot of trouble. First at home as we tried to teach you right from wrong. Then in public, as you embarrassed us and we tried to help you make better choices. Finally at school, where speaking out of turn and trying to get a laugh are not exactly the way to your teacher's heart. I still remember the day you were sent to the Principal's office for repeating a swear word over and over because your buddy thought it was hilarious. It was one of the first times in my mothering career that I felt a bit hopeless. What were we doing wrong? Why were you so incredibly different from the rest?
You continued to grow, as children do, and through many lessons that were learned the hard way, came to settle down a bit. Underneath your wisecracking ways, we could see you were actually very sensitive and oftentimes unsure of how to act. You put on a persona to cover up your insecurities. You were very quick to cry and got very embarrassed by that. We began to see that what you needed were more hugs, though you tend to pull away. More compliments, though you don't quite know how to receive them. More encouragement for good choices and less punishments for the poor ones made in a moment of weakness.
You started using your talents of intelligence and wit for good rather than evil :) You have learned how to say "I'm sorry" quickly and sincerely, so sincerely that I'm oftentimes moved to tears. You are shining in your role as a middle child...while you love hanging with the big kids, you are very good at playing with the little ones as well. I love hearing how you make them giggle, even if there is a potty joke involved. That's just you! Your confidence is growing by leaps and bounds, and while you're still scared to go anywhere by yourself, God has provided you with plenty of siblings to accompany you on your journeys.
I think above all, even though it challenges us daily, your crazy personality is exactly what our family needed. You've taught us how to become better parents and stretched us in ways the other kids haven't. As everyone keeps telling me, little kids like you grow up to be awesome adults, and seeing your growth in maturity over the years, I can finally believe them. You are a delicate soul with a tough exterior. We love you so much and thank you for being more patient with us than we have been with you.
Your ever-learning-not-perfect-in-need-of-prayers Parents