Stuck In The Middle With You

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Stuck In The Middle With You

“Clowns to the left of me/Jokers to the right/Here I am, stuck in the middle with you…” — Stealers Wheel, 1973

Picture it. It’s Sunday night and I’m pecking away on my laptop while my two pre-teen boys sit on either side of me. All four of us are lined up on a well-worn couch. We’re watching mindless television, and they are sketching and chatting about God-only-know-what. Current topics range from Pokemon, Minecraft, or Greek mythology (Percy Jackson, anyone?). I listen enough to make sure the conversation doesn’t go off the rails, but this conversation isn’t for me, so I’m a bit zoned out. Occasionally, someone asks my opinion, but everyone is doing their own thing.

It’s a slice of heaven.

I’m in a sweet spot with them. Gone are the days of hearing my name every two seconds. Gone are the days of being constantly on edge if it was too noisy or too quiet. Gone are the days of being woken up in the middle of the night or way too early in the morning. Gone are the times where we had to keep an exact schedule (meals, bedtime, naps), or everything and everyone would go bonkers.

Not all of those days were bad — they were sweet in their own way — but this season is a sweet middle ground.

Our foursome takes on the world with Office reruns, Hamilton sing-a-longs and TikTok videos. We drink milkshakes at 10pm and talk trash over Mario Kart. We eat Chinese food on the living room floor and make fun of each other, knowing just which buttons to push. 

There are more seasons ahead. There are days coming where mom and dad get eye rolls instead of good night hugs. There are days ahead where they spend more time behind closed doors or with their friends than stuck between us on the couch. There are days ahead when they won’t be safely tucked into beds in our house anymore.

But I’m in the sweet, sweet middle.

Where I still get to scratch heads and rub backs. Where I still nurse sick kiddos back to health with buttered noodles and the perfect blanket. Where I hear all the details about Minecraft or Pokemon. Where they still laugh at my jokes and understand the silly movie and song references we spout off all the time. 

Right now, I’m just grateful to sit here with a clown to the left of me, a joker to the right. Stuck in the middle with them is the best place there is.

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