If Cristoir and the five year old me were to meet on a playground, we would be wearing matching superhero shirts, sneakers, and baggy sweatpants. We would eat chocolate and pizza for breakfast. We would do our homework first thing after school then dribble soccer balls up and down the hallway till midnight. We would win the lottery and rescue every stray dog and cat. We’d also find a way to domesticate lions because that’s our favorite land animal. For fun, we would take playdoh and smash it into tiny pieces because we know how much mom appreciates our creativity.
We would have a good life.
Cristoir is the middle child. Underestimated. Misunderstood. He’s sandwiched between two siblings and is skilled at the art of compromise. His dark eyes are eager to please as he vies for his parents’ attention. He’s the diplomat of the family.
He is, at the moment, very content with his backyard. He spent dozens of hours making a home for two garden spiders. He ran his dad’s fishing line from the corners of the gazebo until it formed a web. He’s convinced mommy spider will return for her babies. In the meantime, he’s giving the displaced spiders a cozy place to live.
His thoughts turn towards those without shelter often.
He’s asks questions like: Why don’t people have homes? Why don’t people have food? Are they cold when it rains? Do they have blankets? Where are their mommies and daddies? He doesn’t always get answers to his questions. Still, it doesn’t detour him. He’s persistently curious.
How much does bread cost? Milk? Cheese? He’s got the dessert part covered. His Halloween candy has been divided into ten bags. You know, just in case someone gets hungry.
Cristoir’s preoccupation with money, how it’s earned, and unequally distributed, baffles his family.
He loves his baby brother and wishes he could stay small forever. His sister is the kindest and smartest girl in the world. His dad is nothing short of a hero. Cristoir believes his dad swims with the sharks during the day. If he only knew how true this statement was. As for mom, well, she’s just regular old mom. She’s constantly nagging. Forever chasing him to eat soup and wear socks.
Deep down inside, Cristoir knows there’s more to his mother’s love than bone broth. Though, there are times, he thinks she doesn’t notice him.
I know you think mama doesn’t always see you. When I nudge you out the door for school, grumble as I lace up your cleats, hush you while baby sleeps . . . all those moments I’m not present. For that, I am sorry.
The truth is, I do see you.
I’ve watched you, my son. Countless times I’ve sat in awe of you. Tears streaming down my face as the past, present, and future flash before me. I can’t help it. I love the the little person you are. I dream of the big man you will become.
The other night when you were up later than you should’ve been, when we were on the couch staring up at Mr. Moon, I watched your mouth move. You whispered to Heaven. You didn’t want me to hear your prayer so I pretended not to listen.
But I heard you.
I saw you, my son.
Do you think birth order shapes a child’s personality? Is it challenging to give your kids individual attention?