I have a five year old son whom I love more than words can express, but several times throughout the day for the past four years I've mostly wanted to throw him out the window. Judah is a sweet, loving, funny boy that makes me have visions of freaking out the way Steve Martin freaks out in all the scenes he freaks out in. At times he makes me want to detach my body from my soul, but there is something about that boy, a sweetness that could almost be described as innocent--a beautiful wonderment that overtakes his expression, and is probably his saving grace. The knowledge and memory of his potential sweetness has saved him in the moments when he is lying face down on the driveway squealing a slightly inaudible stream of sound at the realization that, yet again, the world does not orbit himself and we won't be going to Wendy's for lunch either. Again.
Having your hardest child be the third boy in a line of 4 boys is somewhat unnerving. In many ways you've "been there, done that" all too often, maybe a cockiness sets in as having babies becomes a familiar event. Boy number three is a breeze, you would think--but I have come to believe that being boy number three out of four can be a sucky place. Rarely do you get anything new--Judah lives for anything new, he's even begun to settle for new clothes filling the want void in his soul. He knows that I am way more likely to give in to something needed and practical, he is fully aware that we are on a very tight budget, so now he has developed a highly encouraged fashion sense (encouraged by me)--and he's quite good at putting together a wardrobe. His look is a little punk mixed in with a preppy's love for a good collar.
So tonight as I snuck up into his room to say goodnight one last time, I realized that he had hidden under his covers with two glowing lights reading a classic compilation of Dick and Jane. My mother-in-law gave my eleven year old this book when he was learning to read and he hated it. My 8 year old had similar feelings, although for very different reasons, of course. But Judah has just begun reading and he can read this book, and he loves it. Listening to his quiet phonetic stutters spilling out from his outpost on the top bunk was almost too much for my heart to take. One thing that being number three is: one word-- determined. And in that candid moment hearing him reading on his own I felt him slipping away a little bit more. Slipping in to a big boy. He is going to grow up and stop licking things when he's mad or melting into a puddle of limbs and groans when disappointment comes and when the day comes when he pushes himself out the window of my shelter I think I might miss these days.