Girl in the Middle

Being the girl in the middle is a role every female has played. So celebrate the common threads between mother and daughter and let go of the tension. 

by Carol Chaves • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

This is the story of a girl, a very special girl, who was born into a family that loves her very much. She is the middle child in a brood of three. On one side of her is her older sibling, whom she looks up to automatically; on the other side, her younger sibling, whom she looks out for naturally. She is fine with her position in the birth order of her siblings; in fact, she never really thinks much about it. It's just the way it is and has always been; she has never known it any other way.

As a child, the girl was high-spirited. She came into this world with a strong will on her own time schedule; her mother had to be patient through a missed due date and a long labor. Perhaps the baby sensed that life outside her mother's womb would be so much different than life in utero. When she was born, she let out a scream to beat all screams in the delivery room, until she was placed in her mother's arms. At that moment, she felt peaceful and sure that she was in good hands, and loved deeply. Her mother brought her home, cared for her, and marveled at how she flourished. So began her charmed life.

The girl and her mother had a special bond with one another that started at her birth, continued through her childhood, and into adolescence. Her mother coddled her constantly when she was a baby, knowing what a precious gift her daughter was to her, to the family, and to the world. As a toddler, the girl was cuter than one can imagine. She would do adorable things, like sit on the floor in the family room and just scream at the top of her lungs, for no apparent reason other than to hear her own voice. The neighbors could hear her, too. As a young child, the girl and her mother played together, read together, and went everywhere together. They were a little team, the two of them. It was a special time in each of their lives; and the mother lived in the moment and felt gratitude for her daughter every moment of every single day.

Time went on and the girl grew up. She started middle school and entered her preteen years; then on into high school as a teenager; then into college as a young adult. All during this time, the girl was searching for her self and her independence as a person in the world. She had grown from an energetic, creative, bright youngster into a gorgeous, intelligent, strong, and capable young woman. Her mother was happy for her success and proud of what a good person she had become.

It was difficult for the mother to let go of her daughter because she loved her so and wanted their special bond to continue as it had when the girl was younger. The mother resisted the temptation to restrain her daughter, and instead, disciplined her fairly and appropriately through her years of development. The girl felt as though she was in the middle, between two existences. She still felt a part of the world in which she lived as a child, but the pull of the new world she was discovering in her adolescence was stronger. The middle was not an easy position to navigate, she was learning. The girl slowly drifted away from her childhood and her connection to her mother.

There were times when the girl would wonder, “Why is my mother so different from me?” The mother, too, would ponder, “How can it be that my daughter is so not like me in any way?” They were now two very different people struggling to maintain a shred of the sweetness they once had together. The mother was trying in every way she knew how. She was wise enough to see that her daughter felt stuck in the middle of love/hate emotions; of draw near/back away behavior; of understanding her mother/refusing to accept the person who is her mother.

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