Thursday, July 2, 2015

My Other 'Middle' Child

Two years ago I took the time to write about Isaac, my middle child. Isaac had nearly five years with Addie before she died. Because of this, he was the one I was most concerned about, so he was the one who did the grief groups with me. He was the one with the late-night talks. The extra hugs. The extra attention.

Meanwhile, Tripp was left asking me who was going to fill his sippie cup as I lay crying on the kitchen floor.

It's Tripp's turn now and this post is long overdue.


Tripp was eight days away from turning 3 years old when Addie died.

Happy Birthday, Tripp. 

I remember his birthday quite well, which is nothing short of amazing considering the fog of grief and all.

Maybe I can remember the details of that day because, well, it was excruciating.

There, I said it.

My 3-year-old's birthday was excruciating.

I remember sitting on the edge of the fireplace with a video camera in my hand, watching it all unfold on my two-inch screen. He opened not one, but two Captain America action figures, and I sat there waiting for it all to be over. Waiting for an acceptable amount of time to pass so I could go back to my bed and pull the covers over my head.

I spent most of the summer like this.

I spent most of that year like this.

Oh sure I took the boys places. To the park. Swimming lessons. Museums. Even on horsey rides.

But I wasn't there.

It was like I was a spectator to my own life. I watched it; but I didn't live it.

And so, I missed Year 3 for Tripp. One of my most favorite years. That year when everything that comes out of their mouths is cute and sweet and lovely. That year when Addie couldn't say tomorrow and said 'tah-mah-wer' instead. That year when Isaac called hot dogs 'dah-dahs.'

I missed it.

Today Tripp is 6 years old and I feel like I'm just getting to know him and how remarkable he is.

I don't mean for this to be a Braggity McBrag post. I'm simply trying to capture what it's like to live within the same bubble as this little guy.

 And Tripp is just that: a little guy. He weighs maybe 40 pounds. Soaking wet.

He's actually what you might call scrappy. Just ask Isaac.

And while he has 27 t-shirts in his closet (seriously, I counted them), he never seems to have one of them on. And yet, he produces at least three "dirty" shirts each day.

He's out there. Definitely. I mean out there.

I'm not sure if he can't hear me half the time or chooses not to.

Regardless, I find myself falling deeper and deeper in love.

And here's why:

Tripp can't wait to grow up and be a chef. 

At Subway. He plans on working Mondays and Tuesdays because that way he can have a bunch of days off. He's more than a little concerned about being fired, so he plans to become a dog trainer if he ever gets canned from his cooking gig.

He loves the Royals and sweets. Stuffed animals too. He's up for just about anything that involves a ball. Basketball, baseball, golf, you name it. He swears he's better at Isaac at certain things. He's certainly better at throwing a cheap shot or two.

I can't remember if this was the 1st, 2nd,
or 3rd time he broke his collar bone.

His favorite color is orange and his second favorite is green. Brown comes in a distant third. Somebody has to love brown, I guess.

There's a lot of emotion in that little body. In fact, he can't hardly contain it. It bubbles out at times for better or worse.

Sometimes I have to ask him if he needs a little extra love - usually after he's done something like touch little sister Landry's arm. Repeatedly. Like to the point of that sweet little girl letting out an ear-piercing scream that would be an indication that perhaps he should stop. Just stop. Touching her arm.

He's quick to laugh.


Especially if bathroom humor is involved.

You can just about guess what he thought of
this word coming up on the iPad.

He's quick to stomp off when things don't exactly go his way.

Quick to dance.

And quick to love.

In fact, Tripp's the one who tells me on a nearly daily basis that I'm the best mom he's ever had.

Yes, you read that right.

The best mom he's ever had.