Like many moms in this world, I was up before the rest of the family this morning, trying to conquer a few of the chores left undone from the previous day, to squeeze in a cup of coffee and a little bit of quiet time before the daily dance begins.
Those undone chores....they might become common place around here. After last week's unspeakable tragedy at Newtown, CT, I am ever more aware of the gift of my children and am more deeply convicted in recognizing on a daily basis that spending time with my children is a gift, holding them is a gift, hearing their voice is a gift, watching them grow up is a gift.
Rare footage of Darby fully clothed, minus footwear.
Our Henry is just 5 years old, the same age as many of the beautiful children who now shine down on us from Heaven. I've been especially smitten with him these days. The way he bounds through the house ready to rescue someone, ready to explore, ready to burst into the room just to tell me that he was running so fast outside that he almost stepped on a jackrabbit makes me long to share in his energetic mission to conquer the world.
The boys are really into nicknames around here. In fact, I rarely hear them call Henry by name. He's better known as Darby. Darby is Davy Crockett reincarnated. He's been begging for a bb gun. His collection of pretend ones have been shelved. If you want a little glimpse into Darby's world you should probably know that:
1. HE LIVES IN MUSCLE SHIRTS.
4th of July tattoos can't possibly go anywhere else but on the muscles.
Gettin' down to business, plowing right over mom's hopes and dreams of ever having grass in the yard.
Leaf jumping in what else but shorts and a muscle shirt. The rest of us were wearing sweats.
In nearly every picture of him, Darby is sporting a muscle shirt. And, even though it's mid-December, and even though I packed away all of his summer clothes back in October, he dug them back out and wears them every day. Never mind the frosty dold, he even wears them outside. He's either going to grow up to be a beach dweller, or have his own survival-of-the-fittest reality show. "No shirt, no shoes, no problem??" That's Darby. Oh, and barefoot is also his typical "modus operandi." I have been known to find his shoes out in the tree line by our house, buried in the sand pile, chewed up by the dog, shoved under car seats, and even in my flower pots. But, never on his feet and never in a pair in the shoe basket where they belong.
2. He's got a sweet tooth.
This dietary tendency has made me a little obsessive compulsive about oral hygiene. I try to keep the sweets to a minimum around here, but he's been known to sneak into the pantry and cram his mouth full of chocolate chips, thinking no one will ever know. I'm the one who gave him those genes, so my sixth sense never fails to alert me when Baby Jr. is getting his chocolate fix.
3. He loves to sing.
Most of us just wish that he knew more than one line of every song, because he sings that same line over and over again, with all his heart, as if it's the first time we've ever heard it. Right now, he's into CCR's Have You Ever Seen the Rain? One line, all the time, with lots of swagger: "I wanna know-ow-ow, have you everrrrr seen da rain, comin' down on a suh-ny day??"
Waiting for someone to come along to hike the ball to.
4. He's unapologetically ornery.
Just last week, he put a big green spatula from my kitchen down Charlie's sleeper before we put him down for bed. The poor baby slept so fitfully his eyes were purple and puffy the next morning. When I went to change Charlie's diaper, I found the spatula stuck to his chest. Darby has some major pay-backs heading his way.
5. He's the most quotable kid in the family.
Here's just a few of his recent gems:
* "It's so awesome outside today I think I'm gonna go out naked and play." (I look at him, scowling.) "Fine, Mom, I'll wear some shorts, but I want you to know that wearing clothes puts me in a really bad mood!" (Stomps off. Greets the December cold in a pair of shorts.)
* ((Big sigh first.)) Mommy! I have a surprise for you. You know how you always think our toilet is disgusting? Well, guess what! It was plugged up, so I squirted a bunch of this in it (holds up an empty bottle of toilet cleaner) so that it will flush! And, now it's blue, which makes it less disgusting."
* One day I was helping Henry learn about the difference between a square and a rectangle. We used a Geoboard to help him with this concept. I asked him to fill the board with different sizes of squares, to which he replied, "Okay, mom, but after that, I'm only making sombreros." What can I say, the kid is a multicultural genius.
* Just yesterday, Steve gave the boys each $10 to add to their small sum of cash, and told them that we'll be going shopping on Wednesday for family gifts. I overheard Henry tell George,
"Sorry kid, I can't buy you anything this year. I'm spendin' all of my money on my new buddy, Drew." Thankfully, Even George thought this was hilarious!
I forgot to mention that he loves to run (makes my heart skip!). He doesn't ever walk anywhere, unless he's mad, then stomping is really the only way he travels. During the older brother's football season, he always had room to run somewhere. One afternoon he asked me to time him while he ran around the track. The expressions I captured of him on the home stretch are the essence of Henry ~ intense yet goofy, ornery yet sweet, and he's one of a kind, that's for sure.