Sure enough, we received a letter on Wednesday that must have been written Monday night. It said:
Dear Mom and Dad,
I am having so much fun.
On Tuesday I am doing High Ropes.
While Ted has a blast at camp, we are enjoying the relative ease of two children. Why is it that one less is always easier? If I had four children, three would be easy. If I had only two, it would be hard. Interesting, that.
The younger two get along well together. They are sleeping together, swimming together without holding the other's head under water, and supporting each other when doing "school work." It is a much calmer household, but we miss our big guy.
Sometimes I wonder about birth order and the almost exact roles they define. Ted is the leader, the boss - the others look up to him and follow him. Sam is the good one - he gets along with everyone. And Mae is indeed the youngest - a bit spoiled and constantly striving to catch up to the other two.
Without Ted, will Sam test the waters a bit more? So far, he's been good, though he did pitch a surprising fit about his dinner when we ate out the other night. I wonder, if Ted had been there complaining bitterly as he usually does, would Sam have seized the moment and complained too?
In either case, we will miss Ted, write him letters, eagerly check the mailbox for letters from him, and count down the days til his return. But we will also take a deep breath and appreciate our younger two and their loving relationship. And we will treasure the peace we are enjoying in our home.
Do you have a particular child who "sets the tone" in your home? How does the climate change when s/he is away? Do your other children change when a sibling is absent?