Living in this house is loud. If you've been here, or you've hung out with us, then you know! Between Calvin's barrage of questions (Why is a pancake flat?), Charlie's flow of proclamations ("Family Hug!" "Happy New Year!"), and Miles testing his new words and sound effects, sometimes relating a moment of the day or trying to make plans with Raymond is only achieved when Mommy gives and loud whistle and declares in an announcers voice, "Nobody make a sound for two minutes so Daddy can hear me!"
Living around here is messy! I had friends over yesterday who remarked how clean the house was... "Well it is always clean when guests come... and only then!" I think was my answer. Really, it is a constant of picking up, washing, finding micro machines in the cereal, and hot wheels in the vanity. No place in this house is safe from unraveled toilet paper, or grimy, dirty mischief (a full bottle of lotions dumped out on the floor thanks to Charlie just yesterday... at least he didn't eat it.).
And, it is busy around here! If it's not dishes it's Monster Trucks. If it's not laundry it's riding bikes. Even night time seems full of activity, grown-up sleep interrupted by little boys climbing into the bed for a snuggle. Really, between the three twin beds and one queen all packed into two small upstairs rooms, we never know who is going to wake-up where in this house, or which giggling boy we will find hovering above our faces at 6:30 every morning.
I am an introverted person... I thrive on a bit of alone time to recharge... and alone time? Ha! What's that!? To be honest, sometimes this is all too overwhelming. (It would overwhelm the Supernanny, I think) But...
I love it so much.
I look at these boys, wild with energy, and just marvel at their lives, their effervescent beings. They are life created. They didn't exist. And now they more than exist. Young people with infinite potential.
I look at Charlie and his generous compassion. His love for animals and other children. His patience with Miles and willingness to let people and things and even circumstances be imperfect. He is so creative, light-hearted, and deeply intuitive. Have you ever enjoyed a hug from this young man? If you have you a) earned it by being a person worthy of his trust, and b) received it as a gift that when received feels so astonishingly genuine. Charlie has no reason to be anybody else than who he genuinely is.
Calvin is in so many ways the antithesis of Charlie with a deep interest in machinery over wild-life, and a taste for precision and controlled perfection. A quick learner who deeply desires to understand why everything is the way it is, and why that came to be in the first place. Impatient in many ways with others, circumstances, and even himself, and yet a wonderful leader and teacher to his brothers, pulling them along in development in exploration of the world ("It's okay, Charlie, it's just a bug. It can't hurt you." "Miles, you vroom it this way... see?"). In some ways his challenges are greater than his older brother Charlie, as Calvin will have to move past his perceived need to be in control (don't we all) in order to fully enjoy this life and follow after Christ with full trust and abandon. But Calvin, he is a smart, smart fellow. A wonderful person to know. A learner so ready to soak in everything you have to say and show.
And little Miles. He's a gem in all our lives. Silly, easygoing, willing. His understanding of family life is profound, hardly uttering a word just yet, but so deeply in touch and fully communicative. He wants to be with people, in the kitchen, in the laundry, it doesn't matter where, he is just present with you. He wants to help, to participate, to be. He loves to be in the garden, digging in dirt. He loves to be in the yard, scaling the jungle-gym. He is our most "clingy" child, beginning this life with a deep bond to his mother, and a deep distrust of others, but I am fascinated as this worrisome trait has begun to fall away, and he seems to emerge with a great ability to trust and discern between circumstances and people.
I just cannot cast predictions as to what roles and paths each of these boys are on, what purpose their lives are meant to fulfill... Will Calvin be a mechanic, a person who builds, designs, perhaps a theologian, a seeker (or, who are we kidding... Monster Truck Driver!)? Will Charlie work with animals or people who need help, offering love and patience and a dose of humor to keep things light? Miles? What will he do with that discernment, that desire to be present with others? I just don't know... it is a wonder to me. But I do know this...
I love the Loud. I would never trade the Busy. I could care less about that bit of sleep or quiet or alone time (well, I mean, when it really comes down to it). These three guys are a gift. An incredible gift. Sometimes I don't know how we are doing this (and it seems others wonder the same... "Three boys... got your hands full!"). But we are, and I would never change any of it. Never go back. Never take it under different circumstances. Is there a bigger word than Gratitude? I am so undeniably blessed.