As a second-born child myself, I often wondered if my parents' heart priority rested on my older brother.....as if the "wow factor" of his firsts equaled love.
It wasn't until I had a second-born child that I learned the truth. God made hearts to add and multiply, not subtract and divide.
When I was pregnant with Katie, I wondered how I could love another baby as much as Abigail. I worried that I wouldn't have enough love to cover two babies - as if the total quotient of my mother love would divide and divide each time I had another child. So, if my mother-love value was a hundred, and I had 2 children, then each would receive 50 mother-love 'points'....three children would reduce that to 33.3....etc. It took me a nanosecond after Katie's birth to realize the converse was actually true - my heart MULTIPLIED to twice its normal size...and then TRIPLED when I had Benjamin.
The reason for my musing this week on my "mother math" is because we're flying out with Katie tomorrow to get her freshman year started at University of Oklahoma. It reminds me of last year doing (relatively) the same with Abby - up and over the mountains to Pullman... but now we go up and over a few mountain ranges, then over the plains - and somewhere in a corn field we leave our second-born.
I think the second time rivals the first. The heart space where Katie resides is sensitive to the touch - I can be in the aisle at Fred Meyer buying her favorite tea when all of a sudden a pain strikes - "WAIT! She is actually NOT going to be drinking this at home!" And the tears spring into my eyes. Or, I can glance over at her working on her laptop and I catch a twinkle in her chocolate eyes...and I think "AAAAHHH - that chair will be empty next week." More tears.
Katie's presence in our home is uniquely her own - missing her will be unique as well. Whereas Abigail brings lively and loud percussion to the music that defines our family, Katie adds in more of a string section - sometimes mellow cello, sometimes melodious violin, sometimes playful fiddle...but always able to harmonize (even purposefully discordant when she is being a Bug), as is characteristic of a middle child. Like a chord, the middle note adds depth and richness and roundness to the sound - taking it out makes the sound structure seem empty. Katie is our perfectly pitched middle note, and her absence will make our home feel spare.
Katie, we don't love you because of the things you DO, but because of who you ARE. However - the things you do add to our homelife in such valuable ways!!! Thank you for keeping our cookie jar full so that we can be hospitable and that your daddy can have a few extra calories. Thank you for being the housekeeper on my busy days so that our family comes home to a peaceful environment with clean surfaces and a happy cat. Thank you for being my listener and for being so in tune with my moods that you know the quiet questions to ask in just the right timing...and thank you for not being afraid of my tears or my anger. On the contrary, thank you for your compassion and continually pointing me to the cross for my value and priorities. Thank you for underscoring our lives with a soundtrack of Truth and Beauty. Thank you for being our free marriage counselor. :) Thank you for your friendship and your unconditional love, despite our ENFP-J/ISTJ differences. Thank you for joining me in my music obsessions or tolerating me when I hit "repeat" on certain phrases....and for being my confidante about so many issues this year. I love that you are a safe sounding board for your friends, a vault of confidentiality and trust...and I love that you are that for me, too.
Katie, thank you for showing me that love is to be multiplied. God has shown His love for me by letting me be your mother - what an awesome, sweet, glorious, breathtakingly amazing privilege!!! While I will miss your dear presence in our daily life, I REJOICE that I carry you in my heart - the one you doubled in size.
I will sing to the LORD,
for He has been good to me.
for He has been good to me.