One of the strangest privileges and miracles of parenting, I think, is to know each of your children deeply. We have four children with four completely different temperaments, four starkly contrasting sets of strengths and weaknesses, four little bundles of electric joy, each of whom provide their own specific delights to their parents. Today, we shall focus on Benjamin.
Oh my Benjamin,
You are such a delight to me. You are my tiny little mirror. You are much more like me than any of your siblings, which simultaneously delights me and freaks me out. You are exuberant. You have no filter. You leak this contagious energy out every pore. Sometimes the joy and energy just literally explodes out of you in strange, spontaneous concoctions of happily contorted facial expressions, spasmatic dances, and oddish animal sounds. You are what I would have been like if I had been a boy. I’ve always had my language to express those deeply-felt, urgent utterances. But you’re a boy, you poor thing. And we all know girls are more generally more proficient in the gift of gab than boys. (Okay, with the exception of a few author-types. Whatever.)
Benjamin, you challenge me every single stinkin’ day to be a better mom–to hold my tongue, to be patient, to keep my cool, to be quiet and still sometimes. Your spirit is so much bigger than your little body; sometimes it seems like you can’t stand being trapped in that adorably tiny frame. Not to worry, little one. Growth spurts will come soon enough. Forgive your sentimental mother for a moment and let me tell you a secret. I used to sing to you when you were a baby a song that I made up, and sometimes I still sneak into your room at night (especially after the hard days) and sing it over you and pray for you (no problem, since you sleep like you’re in a coma.) It goes like this (to the tune of “Little Lamb” from Gypsy, if you care):
Baby Ben, Baby Ben, do you know how loved you are?
Baby Ben, Baby Ben, the one who made all the stars
made you, Baby Ben, fashioned in special ways
Baby Ben, Baby Ben, you’ll be loved for all your days…
You’ll be loved for all your days…
Maybe the tune of that song will linger lovely in your head when you’re older; maybe you’ll not know quite where that tune came from. But it came from your mommy’s heart. I love you forever, you little stinker.
So today, there were four separate occasions when Benjamin was just….well, pure Benjamin. And I have to share them with you and with the rest of the Cashclan-loving world, of course:
1) So we’re at the doctor’s office waiting room, and Ben strikes up a conversation with a kind-looking passerby. He traps her with his cuteness, telling her everything in the whole wide world about himself (the basics first, then moving on the hobbies, foods he likes/dislikes, etc.) She seemed like she didn’t mind too terribly, and I had two other boys to deal with at the same time, so I just let him go. He’s a social butterfly. Gotta let him fly sometimes! So ten minutes later (seriously), he’s still got this lady captivated and he’s still talking 90 miles a minute. And then suddenly he just looks at her and says, “Can I stop talking to you now?” The lady CRACKS UP. So do I.
2) Today I sang at a lovely ceremony for a retiring Colonel in the Army, and after I finished my first song, which was a dedication song from the Colonel to her husband, my four year-old Ben SHOUTS emphatically across the silent room at me, “EXCELLENT!”
3) After this ceremony, we headed to the food court for some dinner, where Ben requested Mac N’ Cheese (which he’d eat every night of the week if we let him). But the place that sells the Mac N’ Cheese was under renovation, with one of those big blue tarps hanging all over the front of the little restaurant to hide the mess. So Ben got a cheeseburger. But man, he had a watchful eye on the Mac N’ Cheese place, though we weren’t sure why. Suddenly, a Japanese man with a hardhat on emerged from the blue tarped area, and he crossed our path, and Ben shouted out to him (and startled him at first!): “Hey!!! Stop!!! What’s going on behind there at the Mac N’ Cheese place????” The Japanese man just laughed. So did we. 🙂
4) As we were leaving the food court, there was a man in line at the ATM dressed VERY strangely. He was a tall, dark-skinned man and he was wearing very weather-inappropriate clothes, and ugly ones. In particular, he was wearing a blood-red, ankle length leather trench coat. (It was probably 90 degrees outside!) Ben SHOUTS, “What IS that??” I knew exactly what he was talking about, but I hurried him along and said, “That’s an ATM machine, where people can get money from their bank accounts.” Still within this man’s earshot, Ben (loudly) clarifies, “No mom, that weird man! What’s that?”
I’m learning a lot about Benjamin lately. He’s my only kid who inspires me particularly to read parenting books. 🙂 And one of the things I’m learning is that he’s not just a naughty little lamb. He’s spirited. He’s got the spunk. And the spunk can set the world on fire, if it’s hidden in Christ Jesus. I am so happy and humbled to be his mom.
Benny Boo, I love you so much.