If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed that recently I’ve posted pictures of one of my children more than I’ve posted of the other three. Here’s the thing: having a big family is hard. Having a big family means sometimes things and people get lost in the shuffle. Having a big family means that everyone has to help out, but often it’s the squeaky wheel who garners the most attention.
Lately I’d noticed my sweet Asa crying a lot more, coming up with more and more elaborate stories, and talking even louder than normal. If you know him, he’s already loud enough at his “normal” volume. It was the combination of all those things that made me really start to notice that he was struggling. My happy-go-lucky little lad just wanted my attention. The baby is a fit pitcher (what two year old isn’t?), his big sister is usually my shopping companion, and his big brother is very often bending my ear about science or Star Wars or something like that. He just wants to be heard. And so I’m trying very hard to stop and listen, even when a stuttering three word sentence takes two minutes for him to say.
I got a sitter when I went to his school program so that I could focus on just him and we ate lunch together and danced in the parking lot on the way to the car. He helped me cook dinner and he made dessert for the whole family. I cuddled up with him when he needed a nap and we laughed and giggled and nuzzled noses before we drifted off to dreamland. I watched him ride his bike all the way up the drive and back while the others were still inside. Little things, really, but not to him.
He’s not the squeaky wheel. At least not until recently. And I’d found myself frustrated with him for all the whining and crying and now? Now I feel awful because I realize he just wanted me to see him, to hear him. I try to celebrate them all. I try to make them all feel special sometimes. We go on dates and do one-on-one things together, but sometimes I miss the mark.
I’m trying really hard to see them as individuals and not as one unit. I’m trying to praise each one for what they do best and to help them understand that everyone is different and that that’s okay. I’m trying my best to make the everyday moments ones that lift their little spirits. It’s only fair, really, because they all certainly lift mine.