When we moved into this house, they were eight months old, and none of the neighbors saw them until late that summer. It took me that long to figure out how to do outside with four kids, ages four and under. I'd go out with Graham and Drew when the two little guys were sleeping, and it would be at around the eighteen month mark that they would learn to listen really well, or at least well enough to listen to me say, "No!", when they got to the edge of our driveway.
I think back on those days and wonder how in the world I kept my sanity, and the only answer I can think of is Jesus. I learned to rely more and more on Him as they got older. It was never usually easy, having four so young and close in age, but it was so much fun and all kinds of crazy. They're pretty much the reason why people never ask me to bring anything to holiday dinners. I'd ask what I could bring, and everyone would respond with, "Nothing, just yourselves." And for a lot of years, that was about all we could manage.
They have changed so much over the years, but they are still this close. I rarely ever hear them fight, or be mean to one another. Although, we made that a house rule: no being mean was allowed, and I'd often stop it before it would escalate. This didn't last that long, I'll confess, but now, they are all pretty good at handling conflict with each other. All four of them, not just Jonah and Noah. Just the other day, Graham and Drew were arguing and when I asked Graham about it later, and what had gone on, he just replied, "Nothing. We were being stupid."
They're two minutes apart, but Jonah treats it like it's two years.
It seems crazy that in one year, they will be driving with a permit. Shouldn't they still be this little?!
I love their ages, though, and I've always enjoyed every milestone they reached. I was telling a friend the other day, that God did that. He would help me love whatever age and phase my kids were in, and when they were older or out of that phase, all of a sudden, I'd be done with it, too. Meaning, if they have four more years in the youth area at church, then I'll be in the youth area for that much more, most likely.
Right now, these guys love to play X-Box. They love Madden and Y2K (I think?) and the other few they have. They love being with friends and like to eat out with them after church on Sundays. They love to ride these little trick scooters they have and they like to ride their bikes. They love jumping on the trampoline (Noah, mostly) and playing basketball in the driveway. Jonah loves to watch tv with Todd, mostly the shows they always record and watch together. They love cars and know a lot of useless trivia about them. Noah loves driving by this little car dealership near us, and is always so excited when I go by there for him. (That dealership has really nice cars inside it.)
Tonight we're having some family and friends who are in town visiting over for a little birthday celebration.
Tomorrow, this guy turns eighteen.
That is even more crazy to me, if at all possible. I can honestly say that eighteen years of life with him has flown by.
It seems like I blinked, and he went from this age to the age he is right now. (He was five and in kindergarten in this picture, and Drew was four.)
I am so proud of who this young man has become, and for the life that he leads both around others and at home. He is the same at all times, and he is full of integrity.
Graham has NEVER been shy. He always loved being around adults more than people his own age, and even now, I'm pretty sure he may still feel that way. He has never had a ton of guy friends, always just kind of hanging out with Drew and his friends, but he's always had friends who were girls. He is never afraid to make a decision, and he won't put up with anyone that he knows being mistreated. He always goes and shakes the hand of a veteran if he sees one, and he will jump up to help an elderly person in a heartbeat. He's worked since he was fourteen, and he loves being around and meeting new people. He got to meet the son of the founder of Chick Fil A a few years back, and it might have been the shining moment of his life.
He LOVES going on mission trips and will be leaving after he graduates for a second trip to Guatemala. He raised all of the money completely on his own.
And yes, I said graduate. I cannot believe he'll be graduating from high school this year. I've shed tears over this.
He loves his Bronco. Thanks to all the times it's broken down, he's become quite the handyman with cars. Bless him. He's been so patient as it hasn't run well in a year now, and he hasn't complained the first time. Thankfully, Drew doesn't love to drive as much as Graham, so he's driven them around a lot.
He also loves coffee and has been drinking it since he was in the fifth grade. (Actually, they ALL love coffee and have been drinking it for years.)
Happy (almost) day, Graham, for being a legal adult. You can finally fill out all your own forms, not that you mind.
I'm so glad I get to be the mom of these amazing young men. I am so incredibly proud of all of them. Happy birthday, guys. I love you! (In case they're reading, but most likely are not.)
Thanks for reading my sentimental birthday post. Love to all.