I took all four kids to the park last week.
Family visits to the park are tricky with as wide an age range as we have.
Torri is way beyond playing. At the park, or anywhere else for that matter. She’d rather sit on the bench next to me (or across from me if someone she knows is around) texting like a madwoman.
Kennedy is eleven. She splits her time between playing with her younger siblings and sitting next to the mad texter.
Cassidy and Jayce turn into banshees the moment they set their eyes on the playground. Not even the pied piper of an ice cream truck steals away their attention.
This story, though, is about Kennedy, my girl stuck in the middle.
I know these days are fleeting. I know that Kennedy is liable to assume a position flanking Torri any day now.
It could be next week. It might be next month. It’ll probably be before next year.
So it is with a fluttering heart that I watch her on the playground, chasing her brother down the slide, and dangling like an exclamation point from the monkey bars. She darts from here to there, occasionally catching herself in merriment and reigning it in so as not to appear giddy over a plastic slide.
I watched her older sister transform before my very eyes. One day a merry-go-round brought her hours of fun. And then suddenly it didn’t.
It’ll likely be similar for Kennedy. Part of my heart aches at the knowledge of what is to come.
There is another part of me though. Part of me that watches her head of bouncy red hair hurry across the chain bridge, her gigantic smile beaming all the while. That part of me has learned to live in, and be ever so thankful for, the moment. That’s one of the beauties of having multiple children; with each new babe you learn what to hold on to and what to let go of.
This go round I know to hold on to toothless grins and chocolate milk mustaches. Handwritten invitations to impromptu performances in the backyard. Mismatched outfits and ponytails. Tucking in. Help baking cookies. Snuggles.
These middle things. Lord only knows how surely I’ll miss these middle things.
Not just yet though.
For now I’m happy being stuck in the middle with her.