Thursday, February 14, 2008
Our quiet one
I love Valentine's day. I have great memories of waking up to a big goofy card from my mom, usually with Snoopy on it, and then getting a small heart shaped box of chocolates when my dad got home from work. Whatever he brought home for my mom, he would bring home a smaller version for me. I always wanted to make it a special day for my own kids too. So every year I get some silly little things for each of them, and lay them out on the table to surprise them at breakfast. Last night, I fell asleep after an exhausting day, and woke in a panic at 4am, realizing that I had forgotten to lay out the surprises. I jumped up and put together their little heart covered bags of treats, wrote their names on each, and brought them out to the table. When I got there, I got a surprise of my own. Laid out very neatly, covering the table, were 8 handmade valentines. I picked up the one saying "mama" and was so surprised when I opened it. It was from EJ.
When I look through my blog, I find very little about EJ. Charlie probably gets the most coverage, as he provides me with the most material. I could probably just keep a daily Charlie blog to keep you all entertained. EJ, on the other hand, is our quiet one. He has always been quiet, sitting waiting for us to get around to him. It's a tough place to be in a big family, but he holds his place with complete grace. Even as a tiny baby, I can remember our hectic mornings. I would be racing around trying to get a hyper, scattered Kaleigh ready for school, feeding a loud demanding Margaret, and there would be EJ, sitting quietly in the middle of the kitchen floor, waiting for his bottle. Every so often, he would look at me with his big blue eyes, and say very softly "baba?" I would usually reply "hold on a minute buddy..." and he would just sit, quietly waiting for me to get to him. He never got upset, never held it against his sisters.
He hasn't changed much from those days. He is still so patient, so understanding of all those around him. This morning in the excitement of Valentines day, he had lost a special prize he had wanted to take into school. But he stopped in the middle of his search to help Margaret fasten her new necklace. He stopped again to help Tommy find socks. And once more to help Pipo fix the broken part of his lego car. He never ended up finding what he was looking for, but he still went off with a smile.
As quiet and helpful as he is, he is also the least outwardly emotional. He dreads hugs, will duck kisses, and turns red at the merest mention of "I love you". So I was shocked to see these cards this morning. Each one was different. Each one had a reference to some favorite thing of the recipient. And each one was signed "love EJ." He must have gotten up in the middle of the night to lay them all out. The thought and effort of all of this makes me think of what this whole holiday is all about. It's not the Hallmark cards, the expensive flowers, the boxes of chocolate. It's the true, honest love and thoughtfulness you give to the ones you care about it. And this little boy surely gets that.