You’re not afraid to take risks or make a scene.
You have a lot of BIG emotions, and you wear your heart on your sleeve.
You dance every time you hear music, and you sing at the top of your lungs, even if you’re out of key.
My sweet second child, where did you come from?
You’re nothing like me or your older brother. Big brother and I are two peas in a pod. We are shy and reserved. We like to follow the rules, and we don’t want to ruffle any feathers.
Just the other day, we took an evening stroll around the pond after dinner. You ran full steam ahead into a gaggle of geese and you definitely ruffled every feather. You came dangerously close to running straight into the pond, and you laughed long and loud at the chaos you created as you watched the geese fly away. Big brother and I just stood to the side, watching you in wonder, living vicariously through you because neither of us is likely to ever live with such reckless abandon.
My headstrong second child, where did you come from?
You’re a little bit like your Daddy, not that he would ever admit to such a thing. Not now that he’s older and his life is full of boring grown-up responsibilities. You are a glimpse into his past — a snapshot of the way he used to be when he was young and carefree with that little spark of mischief in his eyes.
I know this because your Mom-Mom used to reminisce about all of his escapades and tricks when he was little. I know he used to stand on restaurant tables and make a scene sometimes, just because he was tired of waiting on everyone else to finish eating. That’s why I shouldn’t have been surprised that day when we ate at Freddy’s, and I went to the counter for just a minute to put in an order for ice cream, and I turned around to find my two-year-old standing on the table stark naked, clothes thrown haphazardly onto the floor. I felt so embarrassed, but the other restaurant patrons just laughed like you were the evening entertainment.
My wild second child, what am I going to do with you?
When I whisper for you to be quiet, you get LOUD. It’s like your voice is permanently stuck at the highest volume. We have been kicked out of the library on more than one occasion, your precious little face looking puzzled in the parking lot as I try to explain to you what it means to use an “indoor voice.”
You feel your emotions deeply. I try to tell you to calm down, and even in the midst of a full-blown tantrum, you will explain to me between jagged breaths that you are trying, but you just can’t calm down. I watch you with tears streaming down your face, and I wonder what it must be like to have such a full-body response to every emotion. My anger quickly flashes across my face until I smooth my expression to be neutral again. Your anger seems to course through your veins and boil out over the brim like floodwater bursting through a dam. It’s like watching Bruce Banner turn into the Hulk.
My sensitive second child, what am I going to do with you?
Your big brother and I like to sit and read and do coloring pages, but you like to go, go, GO! You’re not content to stay still. You need to run and jump and climb. You must get tired of me telling you to “get down” and “slow down” when you have an actual primal need for speed and altitude. I see the other moms on the playground feeling anxious as they watch you play, taking more risks than kids twice your age. You are impulsive and adventurous, and I would hate to step in and squash your free spirit (though I do sometimes when I’m afraid you will get hurt).
My fearless second child, you are loved more than you know.
And you are admired. Maybe it seems silly for a grown-up to admire a kid, but you embody all of the qualities that I never was and always wanted to be. So brave. So independent. You are only four-years-old, and you’re living a life so much different than the one I’ve been living. You are my little firecracker, full of spunk and energy, ready to set the world on fire.
You are nothing like me, but you don’t have to be. If I do my job right as your mother, I won’t try to hide your light. I will support you and fan your little spark into a flame. I will be the one standing on the sidelines, watching you live each day unapologetically and inspiring everyone you meet. I will tell every incredulous onlooker, “Yes, he is actually related to me.”