Friday, 18 October 2013

The middle.

How often to you hear about the misfortunes of being the middle child in the family? They are so often viewed with pity and are seen as having to live in the shadows of their siblings. I have heard adults complain about being the middle child in their family and the baggage that comes with that. We all know the 'Marcia, Marcia, Marcia' speech!!
My family dynamics are a little bit different to others, but I do believe that the middle child holds a very valuable position in a family. The middle represents the point of balance, the safe middle ground, with bookends either side as support. I can see that when I look at other families too- the middle child is so often the one who brings it all together.
My middle child has been away at camp this week and the important role he plays in our family was glaringly obvious even before he had boarded the bus. We felt a huge void this week. It was so strange sitting at the dinner table with one chair empty, and there was an awkward lack of conversation.  His older brother missed his companionship and helpfulness. His younger brother missed him so keenly that he was quite lost without him. The week was occupied with busy tasks- mainly to keep little brother active. No matter how busy we were it just didn't feel quite right. He was constantly in my thoughts and although I knew he was having a wonderful time, I was just looking forward to seeing him.
By Thursday I was feeling a sense of relief that he would be back in our fold very soon and things would just be right again.

Cue dramatic bush fires....

The benefits of social media are vast. We received frequent updates on Facebook from our school Principal to assure us that our children were safe. However, there were also frequent updates containing photos of terrifying fires, reports from concerned parents and news of road closures. It was quite a challenge to remain focussed on the Principal's voice of reason, and trust that all is well, while trying to ignore the bombardment of fearful images and updates. Roads were in fact closed, the fire was in fact quite close by, and the camp was well versed in the necessary procedures.
I have the most beautiful 'snap shot' moment of Joe's little fingers entwined with Drew's as they huddled together on the bench in the playground that afternoon. They were not even aware that they were clasping hands as they chatted about the things that had happened that week. There was no mention of fires, or exciting evacuations with police escorts. They just missed each other and had lots of news to share. Campbell threw his arms around his brother and declared "I missed you buddy boy". Drew was aware that they were close to danger, but said that nobody appeared to be upset at camp. Everyone remained calm and continued to enjoy the experience of being away from home on an exciting adventure. Thank you to the amazing teachers and the camp staff who kept it all together, not knowing if they were going to be able to leave on Friday or not.
It was a very dramatic first camp experience for Drew and he will always have a fantastic story to share- even though the fire saga is actually only a very small part of his experience. He recalls archery with far more enthusiasm!
So our middle is back. Nothing can operate smoothly without a core to hold it all together. We are centred again. We are in balance. We are at ease. 

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