I love writing. I find it super relaxing, a time to use the artistic side of my brain beyond drawing cartoons on brown bags in black Sharpie markers, and a way to feel connected to the outside world that, always to my surprise, is doing and thinking a lot of the same stuff that I am every day.
What’s become a bit of a nice tradition for me is to dedicate blog posts to our family members on their birthdays. What’s an even nicer tradition for me is to reflect on those old posts each year before I write the next one. It’s actually one of the reasons I started this blog, and continue to contribute to it every day: I get to relive moments that I would have otherwise forgotten the details of.
While I love writing about each one of them, there is something special about Jonah. I have a very sweet spot in my heart for this sweet child of mine.
Jonah is our #2. Maya is an 18 year old college Freshman at UMass. Jonah turns 15 years old today and is a 9th grader at Noble & Greenough School. Bode is a 6 year old Kindergartener. And, Harley Love is a 4 year old in Pre-K.
Jonah Keenan-Gallagher is your classic case of a middle child. Like, in the most extreme possible way.
Maya being a Freshman at college means she almost gets more attention from us than she did when she was still a Senior in high school and living at home. When she calls, I drop everything I’m doing. No matter what. When she is home, everything else gets canceled and her wish is our command. And, if she has a game…anywhere…all other events are skipped and we make the trip to cheer her on.
Bode and Harley Love are kind of grouped together in the same category of midget humans that have zero regard for other people and their needs. If they have something to say, they speak louder than anyone that happens to be speaking at that given moment. If they are the least bit tired, they are going to manipulate whoever they want to into snuggling them until they fall asleep, regardless of what that person is in the middle of doing. And, they just still require A LOT of hands on assistance and supervision that, if unattended to, is a straight up threat of danger.
That leaves a tiny little window of attention opportunity for the now 15 year old middle child who is the perfect storm of self-sufficient: he can get himself ready for school in the morning and bed at night, he can find his own food to eat, he has earned enough money that he doesn’t even need us to go grab some food with his friends or buy something online, he has a cell phone to keep him happily occupied while we’re dealing with the other kids, and he’s old enough to ride his bike around town without needing to get a ride from us.
And, one of his greatest qualities of all is what makes the whole situation even more bittersweet: he is one of the most patient people I have ever met. I’m not sure if he’s like that because of where he falls in the line-up, or if it’s become his way of coping with the lack of attention, but it is precisely what allows us to make the other pieces of our family puzzle work.
I know this will sound like I’m picking favorites, but I think each of the other members in our family would agree: Jonah is the most kindhearted, patient, gentle, compassionate, even-tempered, and forgiving one in our entire family.
This child can certainly drive us crazy at times, but his ratios of good to bad are probably the best out of all of us.
I don’t know what our family would do without him, how our family would function without him in our equation. We would be in a constant state of imbalance. He gives us space to be wild, but brings us back down to Earth. He is such a constant, but man does he come out of the woodwork with some of the stuff he says. No one stops us dead in our tracks in the middle of a dinner conversation like Jonah can. And, while he still needs a lot of direction on what exactly to do to help, he says more than anyone else over here, “Is there anything I can do to help?”
Jonah, how are you just 1 short year away from driving a motor vehicle when you still have no idea where our home is in relation to the rest of the country?
I. Love. You. So. Much.
I know every parent says this to their child, but I love you more than you could ever possibly know. I really do. I mean that with every ounce of my heart and soul. You soften my heart, and make me switch my dance music to oldies, and make me feel like so much less of a train wreck mother with your sky-high tolerance of all of my short falls. You bring out the sides of me that would otherwise lie dormant because you’re so unique with your creativity and artistic curiosity and ability to stay true to who you really are and not who it would be more convenient to be.
You are one of the perfect examples of why parents dream of having children: because raising children gives you the chance to live out a part of you that you weren’t able to live out yourself.
I don’t deserve a child as sweet as you, but man alive am I willing to accept being spoiled by you every day of my life.