2nd Child

My youngest daughter asked me all the time in these stories “why do you say ‘my wife’ or ‘my kids’ instead of using our names.  I would tell her that it was because I was trying to keep them protected, that they never asked to be in my stories and I wasn’t sure I had their permission.   Then she would say she didn’t care.

She likes to read the stories so I figured for this one, I would use her name.  Her name is Kiley, and she is an 11 year old super awesome, challenging, insightful and incredibly funny kid.

When we were talking about writing she mentioned that most of the stories have my oldest daughter in them, and that if Kiley was in a story her sister would be too.  I said to her that the oldest was my favorite and that’s why the stories are about her mostly.  I was kidding of course, but it did get me thinking a lot of Kiley and her feelings as the 2nd child.   I’m the oldest in my family so I do relate a lot with my oldest daughter.   All the firsts that happen to me as a Dad are from her.  That’s a pretty big deal, and one that the 2nd child doesn’t really get to have.

But, since my oldest dances at a studio in which my wife works, they spend a ton of time together.  Which means Kiley and I get to be best buds A LOT.   From rides to cheer practice to homework to dinners together, we are a team.   So, I wanted to tell you about her, just her, without anyone else in the story.

Kiley has a slight learning disability where it is tough for her to read sometimes.  I used to get incredibly frustrated with her doing homework because I could not figure out what was so hard about what she had to do.  My oldest just gets it, she works hard obviously, but you know how some kids just “get school”, well she is one of those kids.  Kiley struggled for a long time.  Then the teachers at her school put her on a program that helps her out.   She gets some special attention, some helpful tools to use for testing, and she is AWESOME at school now.   She used to hate going, but this program has completely changed her school life.  I see the effort she puts in, so while the A’s on the oldest daughter’s report card are great, the B’s or C’s on Kiley’s are just as impressive.  I can appreciate the report card as just a measurement of where they are, not as a comparison to another kid or even a comparison with my own two beautiful, smart girls.

One thing she has never struggled with is being the funniest person in any room.  She doesn’t do it with a Jim Carrey style of physical comedy either; she does it with her quick wit.  There is no way I will ever be able to articulate this story writing it, but it is the hardest I have ever laughed, so every time I write a story about Kiley I will include this one.   We were leaving a friend’s house, my wife, my oldest, Kiley and I, one night and the kids were fighting over who got a certain seat in the back.  Kiley ran and got in the seat and my oldest just sat on top of her and they were screaming at each other.  My oldest saying she called the seat and Kiley just saying that it didn’t matter and she was there first so she should get the seat.  They were almost to the point of punches, with the oldest finally about to get her way and get the seat when Kiley said “What am I Rosa Parks?  I can’t have a seat”. The car was suddenly filled with loud laughter. Everyone was instantly okay with where they were sitting and I started to drive away.  But, I was in tears laughing; we all were, so much so that I had to pull the car over.

Sometimes you can look at your child and know what they will do growing up.  You know this is the path they will take.  With Kiley, I have NO CLUE, and I love it.  She is her own person, obviously she is an 11 year old, and so she wants to fit in with others, wants to be liked and all that stuff.  But, there is something unique about Kiley, something that draws me in to find out what makes her tick.  Each time I think I know it, she surprises me with something else.   From hockey to cheerleading, I have no clue what her next move is.

As I always say, I’m a very lucky guy.  I have kids who challenge me, who don’t let me be the Dad who isn’t invested.  They include me in their lives.  Kiley seems to a simple kid, but the more I get to see her, the more I see how incredible complex she is.  Someday, she will rule the world and I have NO CLUE how she will do it, and that is what I love most about her.   I just know I’m here to fund her next project or bail her out of jail.  I’m forever her biggest fan.

In a world full of M&Ms be a rainbow skittle.

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