I feel sometimes like our family is like a geometric shape that comes closer and closer to completion with the addition of each child. I can't imagine our family with any of their little personalities missing.
It has been a privelege and a wonder to see them grow into the unique dynamic that they will contribute not only to our family, but to the world.
Camden brings tenderness and thoughtfulness. Luke brings laughter and passion. Lauren brings excitement and energy. Calista brings peace and unconditional love. Our family would be terribly lop-sided and incomplete without any one of them.
They are each so beautifully unique in their gifts and dispositions, that it would be impossible to choose a favorite. I hesitate sometimes to write too much about one child or another in fear of giving them the impression of favoritism. But lately my little Luke has been on mind, and the wonderful gifts that he brings to this world.
My little Luke has made me laugh every day since the day he was born. He has a gift that I've coined the "gift of context." He has an amazing ability to read and see through people in a way that some adults have said is intimidating. He bases his actions or reactions based on the context of the person or the situation, which in turn makes him either incredibly charming and witty, or incredibly stubborn at times. Very little escapes his notice, even subtle nuances that most people miss. I've noticed that he has learned to read words based on understanding the context of what he is reading, instead of sounds and syllables the way so many children his age do. It's a truly a remarkable gift.
So much of his humor is based on this ability to understand context and I think that's what makes it so funny. How very appropriate that he chose a magician theme for his six-year old pictures this year! When he suggested it, I smiled and thought, I couldn't have chosen a better theme if I had tried.
The other day as we sat around the dinner table, during a particularly noisy meal, he rolled his eyes and said, "Mom, you and Dad really need to stop spawning so many children. I think we have enough." ... this coming from a first grader.
I remember a couple of years ago, when he was probably only 3 or 4 years old, he did something terribly naughty to Camden. I told him he needed to apologize but he refused, insisting that Camden had deserved it (which he had). I told him that whether or not Camden deserved it, it didn't justify his actions, and I again insisted that he apologize. If he didn't, I said, there would be consequences. He furrowed his eyebrows and crossed his little arms across his chest, giving me a death stare that seemed to say, "bring it on."
Oh brother, I thought, here we go. I knew I had just entered a battle of wills, and that there was a good chance I would probably lose. As Dennis has said, "That kid could teach a mule a thing or two about stubborness."
I put him in time-out... no luck.
A spanking on the bum... nothing.
I took away his favorite toy, computer time, playing with friends... nothing.
We were about an hour into our battle of wills and I was exhausted and he was sitting on the stairs crying. I had nothing left in my aresenal of humane consequences. One little word... "sorry"- that was all it would take and for the life of him, he would not say it! I knelt down by him and pleaded with him that if he would at least acknowledge in any small way that he was sorry, that this would all be over and he could go back to playing.
I suddenly had a flash of inspiration and told him that if he would touch his nose with his finger to let me know he was sorry, that that would count as an apology. He looked up with tears streaming down his face and touched the tip of his finger to the end of his nose, over, and over, and over again.
My little boy... so very stubborn, but so dear to me. I hugged him tightly and his tears were dried.
In one way his stubborness worries me, but in another way, I breathe a sigh of relief to know that this little boy refuses to let himself be pushed around or manipulated. I admire that his respect for people comes not from their position of authority, but from the trust he has in them. Intimidation is a foreign concept to him, and that is something that I truly admire.
What a blessing it is to have these children who bring such joy and laughter into our lives, but who also force us to stretch ourselves, and think outside the box.
My little Luke, I love you more than any words could express.