It’s “National Middle Child Day”

I’m a middle child. Sort of.

My mother had two biological children. I am the youngest. My sister and I have different fathers. My father had two biological children. I am the oldest. My brother and I have different mothers. My sister is 6 1/2 years older than I am and my brother is exactly seven years younger than me. My sister and my brother have no biological bond. But between the two of my half-siblings I am the middle child. Try to find THAT birth order in any of those psychology journals. No wonder I’m a mess.

We’re finally out of the hospital. Ben was sprung late Sunday evening because his ANC had finally started to come back up. It was around 50 when he was discharged. We went back in Tuesday for blood work but Ben’s ANC had only climbed to 72. He needs to be at 500 to be “safe” (able to go to school) and at 750 to start his next round of chemo. He’s supposed to start that next round on Monday. We’ll go back in Friday to see if his counts will support him starting this next round. He might not be ready, which means we’ll postpone the next round for a week. He didn’t need a transfusion of red blood or platelets though. That’s a good thing. I’m just surprised that he’s not rebounding faster.

He’s feeling just fine. He’s upset that he can’t go to school (especially to see his girlfriend, Skyler). Meanwhile, we’re cooped up here in the house. No visitors. Madeline has fulfilled her duty as younger sister by antagonizing the hooey out of him. He actually says this to me: “Mom, she’s antagonizing me again.” I have to remind her that Ben is “sick” and to lay off. And then Ben antagonizes his sister. I have to remind him that just because he has cancer doesn’t mean he can get away with everything. Hard to say that, though, to that cute little bald head with big brown eyes.

Madeline is feeling a little left out of everything lately with all the attention going to her brother. After her first day of school she came home, stripped off her clothes, and drew red dots all over her body with a marker. She said “I’m putting my night-nights on. I’m sick.” I tried to pay a little extra attention to her to ensure her that she is, indeed, a very important part of our family. She doesn’t need to be sick to get our attention. Siblings. Such a delicate line to walk on and very difficult to find any emotional balance.

We did enroll Madeline in a program called “Super Sibs”. It’s specifically for kiddos who are siblings of cancer patients. The siblings get little packages in the mail, letting them know that they are special, too. Madeline got her first package yesterday. She immediately tore it open and loved all the stuff that was just for her. She needed that.

So Ben said the prayer last night before dinner. I haven’t been good at praying lately because I’m completely peeved with the Big Guy Upstairs. But Ben says “Thank you for this wonderful day. Thank you for this wonderful food. And, please, I need your help. I just need to get this over with.” Tears are falling because I just don’t understand any of this. As I’m soaking my spaghetti and meatballs with my waterworks, I wonder. So many questions. No answers. But knowing this sweet little boy is fighting for his life just makes me sick. If there is a God, which I am sincerely struggling with right now, if He didn’t hear that prayer and make my Ben all better immediately, then I just don’t know what to think.

Everything I’ve ever believed is crumbling. Is this a test? Punishment? I feel so helpless and am finding absolutely no comfort. I’m trying. It just seems to get harder. I feel isolated and alone. Sort of like a middle child.

So instead of wallowing in my inability to find answers I do the only thing I can. Hold Ben and love him. Hold Madeline and love her. I know how to do that. I’ll do it with all the energy I have.

More tomorrow. đŸ™‚

Join the Conversation


  1. Hi. I dont remember how I found your site, but have been following it lately and I felt compelled to comment on your post. I too am a middle child. I too have a beautiful son named Ben – he is 19 now – he never had cancer, but his big sister Lacie did when she was 11. Ben was my “Madeline” – and it is so hard I know – to take care of your sick child AND the other children as well. My heart goes out to you, to your Ben and to Madeline. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    PS – We had spaghetti last night too!


  2. Hi Sarah! Let me just say how thankful I am for your goofiness! Give Ben and Madzilla a kiss from me. Love you–ronnie


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