The first day of school always provides me with a hearty buffet of emotion. I watch with pride as my children advance another step in their lives, but I’m met with the sorrow of knowing that they’ve slipped one more inch from my grasp. Reagan entering 8th grade, David entering 2nd, and little Jonah embarking on his first Tuesday/Thursday “Mother’s Day Out” experience have me reminiscing about this past year, and it felt like the right time to take pause.
Reagan has, in less than 12 months, evolved from a girl to a young woman. Officially taller than me, I’m only saved by my love of 4+ inch heels, and I’m thrilled that she’s still comfortable in her tennis shoes. A beast of an athlete, she spikes a volleyball with more power than I could ever muster. There’s no mistaking she’s her daddy’s girl. She’s becoming more vocal and confident on the court, and this sport of volleyball that she’d never even played until last year, may just become her best sport, yet. Musically, we’ve seen her develop into a serious artist who, thankfully, never takes any of it too seriously. Her songwriting has left us in awe as she puts pen to paper to create things that we could never imagine crafting. From her melodical creativity to her lyrical prowess, we struggle to understand how it comes to her so effortlessly. Just the other day she read something new that she’d written that left my chin on the ground. “When did you write that?” I asked. “At Peter Piper Pizza,” she answered. That’s my girl. While the other kids were playing video games, she was digging deep to write something profound and beautiful. I was also blessed to see Reagan begin to develop quite the servant’s heart this summer as she ventured out on a mission trip to the inner city of Houston. What a blessing to watch God work in her life. I pray she continues to be comfortable in her own skin. I pray she never feels the need to define herself into by the world’s standards. And more than anything, I pray that the Lord directs her steps and that she’s sensitive to His voice.
Davy, sweet Davy … where to begin. He’s simply brilliant, and he exhibits all the complexities you’d expect a brilliant child to display. But his obsessive, competitive personality is beautifully matched with a sensitive, thoughtful spirit that melts our hearts. One moment he’ll be regurgitating word-for-word information from a documentary he’s watched on the Science Channel, and the next he’ll be weepy from looking at pictures of past family trips. I recently created a slideshow of his first seven years, and it’s one of his favorite things. Maybe his exceptional memory brings pictures to life in ways that we don’t understand. Whatever the case, we appreciate these glimpses of his sweet heart. We haven’t pushed him into sports, as he seems to exhibit little interest, preferring his video games … which I personally abhor, but tolerate. He’s a gifted artist, and will spend hours working on a single drawing, paying attention to details that any ordinary seven-year-old would ignore. When he draws faces, they come to life, and all have their own quirky personalities … just like him. I pray that he makes friends this year with kids who understand him. I pray that he continues to be the kid who’s proud to raise his hand and answer all the questions in Sunday School. And I pray that, no matter how much we are forced to discipline him, he feels our unconditional love.
Jonah, my little Jonah. My baby; my last shot; the apple of my eye. The creation of his very life was a last-minute decision. This child we couldn’t afford and for whom we had no room has blessed us and stretched us in ways we never dreamed. Going from a family of four to a family of five is quite the leap. Everything in life seems best-suited for even numbers, but with Jonah, we’ve never been more proud to be, well … odd. He’s a lover. He’s a pleaser. And he’s a talker with a crazy vocabulary for his age. He’s potty trained now, and quite independent with his technique, yet still wants someone present to watch him … I assume for fear of falling in. His current obsession with Thomas the Train is a sight to behold. Unlike his brother Davy’s train obsession at the same age, in which he would meticulously engineer complicated track patterns all over our house, Jonah is perfectly content lining up trains on any elevated surface and crashing them over the edge. He seems to fancy destruction, and hits his head more than any child I’ve ever seen. Always running, always bouncing, and always giggling, we now understand why people say that children will keep you young. But at the end of the day, into our laps he goes to cuddle as we read him a story. Always rocked to sleep, he’s never once been put to bed awake … and as long as it’s in my control, that’s the way it will stay. My prayer for Jonah is that he adjusts to his new Tuesday/Thursday program well. I pray that he continues to fill our home with his beautiful, joyous spirit. And I pray that we always look upon him as the best “irresponsible” decision we ever made … because he is.
Tomorrow’s the day. I’m ready. And I suppose I’ll meet you back here next year with another report.
Apologies for any typos … I’m typing through tears.