Personal Space

It’s just after 10 p.m. The door between the family room and the sunroom is open, and all the windows in the sunroom are open. The sound of crickets in the background, filling in the silent voids throughout or television show. I’m here watching, but not really. Our four little men are tucked in bed upstairs. Each one of them requires a little (or a lot) more attention this evening, less than ten hours before their first day of school. Finn is going to 7th grade, and will be taking French. French!! He’s not excited at all, and we just tried on his brand new, fresh out of the box kicks and they have a very obvious defect that doesn’t even bother him. I know the dollar amount paid for said shoes and I’m having a really hard time not staring but hey, if he doesn’t care, why should I? He’s the kindest of all my boys. He cares when one is hurt, is deeply and honestly concerned if one of them is upset and will always slide a hand drawn Poki the Cat comic under a bedroom door if he thinks it will cheer you up. He’s thoughtful and overthinking, almost to the point of exhaustion for him sometimes. He appreciates the reminder that he has a voice too, and once he trusts you, he will let his guard down and he’ll show his true authentic self. He’s fiercely guarded about his brothers and his few trusted friends. His teachers have been many, but his trusted favorites few. He’s also the kid who pulled the fire alarm in 3rd grade, so I’m not saying he’s perfect. He loooves his private time playing video games and the switch and is an extremely talented artist. His creativity inspires me to be more, do more. He smiles with his entire face, eyes and all, and Noel swears Finn’s laugh is his grandfathers. It makes all of us laugh. He’s the oldest and that means the experiment, but his patience allows us to talk and grow together. He’s fantastically flawed, just like all of my kids, as well as myself.

Owen is soon to be 10 this year and there’s nothing I can say about this child other than the saying “living his best life.” He loves a piping hot bath and fresh towels. He gets outstanding marks in all of his classes, but that’s because of the effort he puts forth. He will work tirelessly for an A. This is something I don’t see in any of the other boys and I wish he would cut himself some slack. His clothes are a conscious effort unless there’s something bigger going on that distracts him and he loves soccer. His best friend has been in his life for about three years and she’s the exact same as Owen in sooo many ways, but he also has lots of other friends that the loves to be around. He thrives in social situations and being around others and I pray he never loses that ability to talk with and enjoy other’s company. He also has a horrible temper when he doesn’t get what he wants, and he’s admittedly grumpy for absolutely no reason sometimes, and I love him for it. He hates change and thrives on routine. He loves school and is excited and nervous for tomorrow. He is truly, living his best life.

Jonah is going to 2nd grade. He is and always will be my little one. He is brave even when he shouldn’t be. He had an extra tooth pulled from the front of his mouth this year and didn’t cry. He didn’t shed one tear. He was strong and eager for a new experience. He will try anything once (pretty sure he doesn’t want to do the tooth thing again). He is more physical than my others, always pushing, punching and kicking. He wears a retainer now, while he’s waiting for his braces to be put on. The expander was cemented to the roof of his mouth last fall, and it made reading out loud and talking somewhat of a challenge. I believe he’s adapted quite well, but I also know that new people in his life will not know the backstory. He doesn’t see a need to tell them, but I’m sure he’ll pop it out to show everyone in school this year. He struggles to talk without it now, actually. He has so many friends at school and truly enjoys everyone. He learns the names of all the boys in his class and usually one or two girls who play video games. He’s loving and caring and is deeply disturbed if he sees an injustice happening- it’s got to be fair. He tells on his brothers when he needs to and absolutely loses it when he’s being tickled. I love that he hides behind furniture to scare the shit out of me when I come home (the garage door is like a siren to assume the hiding position). He’s a sweetheart and the only one who I rub noses with at bedtime. He appreciates individual time and never takes it for granted. He plays baseball, soccer and put in a year of football in kindergarten. He’s a beast in a little 7 year old body. He puts himself to bed and also appreciates sleep, something none of my other kids do.

Ceiran is not starting pre-k until later in the month, but he senses the change and doesn’t like it. He wants ipads and phones going until the late hours and is mostly upset about the lack of action happening upstairs at the moment. He is the most tanned from the summer and is the only one with dark hair. I’m mentioning this because Ceiran translates to “little dark haired one” and after three blonde haired baby boys I truly didn’t think we would be able to use the name, but it was meant to be. He’s relentless, talking Noel and I into ANYTHING. He’ll still hold my hand and he’s shy around others his age. We all call him the baby (I know, but we can’t resist). He was born the biggest- tallest and heaviest. He loves to play with his big brothers and he really knows which one to go to for different needs he has. Finn has all the good toys and LEGO’s and will (most of the time) show patience, Owen is always good for a role play and a cuddle, and Jonah is the one for wrestling and running around. Together they’re all a fantastic team of chaos and brotherly love and I wouldn’t have my life any other way.

This year, I want them to grow. I want them to grow in their learning, social skills and appreciation for each other and their surroundings. I pray that they grow in friendships and kindness, even when it’s difficult for them (and me). I want them to remember this year with humor, comfort and serenity. They are enough. They deserve to work hard and be happy. Their teachers are truly lucky to have them, and I’m praying that the boys show their teacher why. Thank you to everyone in their lives. You’ve shaped them and contributed to their happiness and learning, and also to their future and their feelings of self worth. Please, tomorrow, as I’m dropping my kids off to school, keep us in mind. If you see my kids, please say hi and send a smile their way. Please let them feel a sense of community and a genuine care while I can’t be with them. And know that I’m thinking of you. Know that I’m so grateful for the amazing people in my boys lives. And if your child pulls the fire alarm this year, I’m there with you. Life goes on and they end up better for it. You will be better for it too.