There are a lot of theories out there about birth order and the stereotypical characteristics of children born first, last or somewhere in the middle. I’m not sure if birth order has anything to do with how successful a child will be or how confident they are, but I do know as a mom of three I see certain characteristics that are hard to ignore.
Daniel is the one stuck in the middle. He was born just a little over two years after his older brother Mikey and 6 years before his youngest brother Patrick. He had a good chunk of time getting to be the youngest so when Patrick was born I think it threw him for a loop. I’m not sure he ever really got over it!
I remember Daniel’s reaction the day his baby brother was born. He walked into my hospital room and said, “hi mom.” His voice was shaky and he had tears in his eyes. I’m pretty sure it was because he was worried about me and relieved to see I was okay, and not because he was so happy to have a new baby brother. He was also not happy to know that he wasn’t as welcome to come trotting into our bed in the middle of the night now that there was a nursing baby in the bed too.
Daniel’s never been the child who got to do things first. His older brother was our guinea pig, so when Daniel was a baby, we were already pretty good at being parents. We were definitely more confident anyway. He had the benefit of getting parents with experience, and with experience comes a more relaxed attitude about a lot of things. He got to eat chocolate way before I ever considered giving it to his older brother!
Because Mikey is the oldest we are still experiencing things for the first time with him. Most recently learning to drive, graduating from high school, and now attending college. In many ways Daniel benefits from this experience not only because we are more relaxed about it, but because we now know what to do.
But I can’t help but wonder if he sometimes feels like he’s not as important because we don’t make as big a deal out of these things.
If that’s the case, he couldn’t be more wrong. He’s always been the kind of kid who quietly goes about his business without making a lot of noise. He is an excellent student, but you wouldn’t know it, because he doesn’t talk about it. He just does it because he knows it’s important.
On the soccer field or on the track he works hard and his hard work pays off, but he works hard quietly. Taking it all in, doing what he’s supposed to do because he knows it’s the right thing to do, he doesn’t do it for the recognition, he just does it.
I rarely get to hang out with just Daniel because most times I have Patrick with me too, but yesterday I took him on his first college visit. It was nice to hang out with him just the two of us. He still has another year of high school, which I am very thankful for, but the search for just the right fit has definitely begun.
As we walked around the University of Connecticut yesterday I watched his reaction as we went from building to building. We saw the library, some classrooms, dorms, dining hall, and student union. What I didn’t expect was the smile on his face when we walked into the stadium where the Huskies play. The UCONN Huskies, 2011 NCAA champions. Daniel is a sports guy, one who truly appreciated the fact that he was standing in a stadium of champions. The names were plastered around the walls, names most people would recognize even if they aren’t college hoop fans.
I’m not sure if UCONN is the place for him, but because he’s the kind of kid he is, he’ll find the place that fits.
I suspect Daniel has always felt a bit overshadowed by his older brother and he really has no reason to be. He’s smart, he’s funny and well rounded. He’s a good person with a good heart even though his little brother would argue that point.
I am insanely proud of the young man Daniel has become and I expect big things from him.
It’s your turn to shine Daniel, show the world what you’ve got.