It's his pirate name. He made it up himself. Calvin.
I don't know if anything could have possible prepared us for Calvin. He is dynamic. Even when Calvin is not physically moving (or talking!), you can still sense it.
Calvin spends most of his waking hours seeking and assimilating information. Sometimes we wake up to his questions. All. day. long. Asking, probing, experimenting, observing, and yes, testing. Calvin is driven by curiosity. He is also driven by connection. He gets his charge from connecting with people. I think he would list 'community' right below food and shelter. There is a lot to Calvin, but if I could only name two, these are big ones. He wants the world to be known to him, and he wants to be known in it. That's Calvin. A mind that leap frogs itself through the days. I don't know exactly where he is headed, but he is going there fast.
Which, in a round about way, brings me to this:
Not much surprises me anymore about Calvin, his interests, his motivations. I almost expect to be impressed. However, there is one thing that still sneaks up and surprises me about Calvin: his "five-ness". He's just five. Heady, outgoing, curious, but still just five. He is the most capable brother, and is regularly asked to be so big in the chaos that happens around here, but the five-ness is still in there. It still pierces through all the activity, all that maturity, and suddenly, whether the moment is convenient or not, the little boy who is just five needs assurance, attention, someone to look past a bedtime outburst and bring him back down to the ground.
It reminds me of something that he said to me once:
"Mom... I think God gave Charlie to me because I'm fast, but Charlie is really strong."
He was right. He is fast. And sometimes the fastness is scary when you're only five. Those are the days when we go to check on the boys and find two sets of feet in Charlie's bunk. A fast little boy who reached out to find a guard rail, and there, as always, was his big, strong brother.
Tonight he asked Charlie if he could sleep with him from the start. Charlie was happy to have him, of course. As they settled in, working the covers out between them, I see Calvin's little arms sneak around Charlie, and he said, "Charlie I love you so much. You are a really great brother. I hope you can teach me how to take care of animals some day." To which Charlie snuggled up to him and replied, "I love spiders." I sometimes agonize over the reasons life is more difficult when your oldest child is the one taking the scenic route to maturity. Silly. It was right for Charlie to come first. He is a great brother.
Calvin will leave us one day, hungry for more knowledge, new connections, new challenges. I don't know if he will try and fail a couple times like I did. I don't know if he will experience home-sickness, or if he will ever find himself feeling baseless and questioning. But I do know, rooted and steadfast, ready for a reunion-without-judgement of losses or failures, will be his big, strong brother Charlie. An Anchor, and a constant. Lord willing.