Happy birthday middle child! Oh, how I wish April 20th could come before April 17th every once in awhile. What would it be like for you to just once experience a birthday before your older brother? You may ask what would it be like to experience anything before your older brother. But Ted, you know that feeling deep in your bones: the daredevil bike riding, skateboarding and rock climbing, and being on stage too. I’m sure you also ask yourself what it would be like to have all the experiences last in our family as well, to have parents whose laps aren’t filled with a baby brother. But Ted, because your father and I are frenzied to do it right with the first and we vacillate between being sentimental and nostalgic (or too tired to care) with the last, I think you may have the best spot.
You make our family what it is– a Ted sandwich— and an interesting sandwich it is!
You, a vibrant bundle of emotion and curiosity, create in our family an energy that is constantly keeping me on my toes. You have so much to teach me via your relationship to time. Yes, when we have to be somewhere at a specific time it can be quite frustrating, but it is inspirational to watch you lose yourself in the creative flow, with hours flying by like minutes. To watch you ponder, make connections and engineer inventions is medicine to my soul. Through your example I long to learn to live in Ted time.
I’m not sure about living in Ted space though. It can be quite messy! I stepped into your room today thinking maybe I’d tidy up as a birthday gift to you, but instead I shrugged my shoulders and took in all the props and costumes you’ve created, the mountains of non-fiction and vast array of fiction you’ve devoured, the piles of journals and sketchbooks you’ve filled with the work of your brilliant mind, and the endless sentimental keepsakes you’ve collected. I appreciated the entire top bunk filled with stuffed animals, each of them with a name and a story and a history of love and attention.
I know you seek attention too, Ted. Please know that despite what it often seems, I am paying attention. I see you. I feel your quirky and contagious enthusiasm. I heed your quest to learn. I watch you wrestling with emotion and witness your outpouring of empathy and compassion. I hear you express yourself beautifully with your music (and your whistling).
I am so proud of you, eccentric and lovely Ted.
You give me hope, sweet boy.