New Years Day was a beautiful day at Boy House.
8 years ago on December 22nd #6 came into our lives.
The best way I can think of to describe this son is a story.
Any mother of boys knows well the Super-hero phase. Around 5 - 7 years old little boys become invincible and angst ridden just like Spidey or Bat Man. Now, anyone who spends any time at all studying the whole super hero thing, (and I have...in real time) is aware of the juxtaposition of the noble, good nature of their favorite hero and the dark angst that is part and parcel of the super psyche. It seems, any super-hero worthy of a letter on his chest must own the darkness as well as the light in his soul. To ignore one or the other runs the risk of becoming something less than super. It's all about not getting too caught-up in your own shtick.
And, that's our #6.
A bit over a year ago on a summer evening, as I walked through the living room, past the front door, open to let in the cool of the evening (or, we really do live in a barn), I could hear my two youngest and their cousin playing in the yard. There was nothing alarming about the scene, but some Mom sense urged me through the door to the front porch. Just then a small pair of feet and legs appeared above my head as #6 began climbing down from the roof.
Of course, I did what any Super Mom would do, I grabbed his leg to help him find his footing and began lecturing. Suddenly, #6 lost his grip on the roof and swung down suspended by my hand around his ankle in a magnificent sideways arching swing; his head missing, by inches on either side, the concrete slab of the porch and the decorative metal arbors in the flower bed. He came to rest, calmly, hanging upside down from my hand and said, in the mildest of voices, "Thanks, Mom, you saved my life."
The next day we were alone in the kitchen, #6 sat at the cupboard eating, I was cleaning. "Mom," he said in a quiet, thoughtful voice. "You saved my life yesterday."
"I did." I answered.
"You know I wouldn't have fallen if you hadn't been holding on to me?" He asked, with a slight frown.
I hesitated, looking into his sober, blue eyes. "I know." It was the truth.
"I love you, Mom." He nodded at me and walked away.
Yesterday, on New Years Day, our little super hero was baptized by his 18 year old brother. They sat together, alone, on the front row of the chapel, dressed in white. When the Bishop announced that #2 would be baptizing his brother #6 reached up and patted #2 reassuringly on the shoulder.
#6, thank you for your solemn, contemplative nature. The symbolism of you becoming new in Christ on this first day of a new year is magnificent. You were born on the darkest day of the year, December 22, the day of least sun light. I cradled your naked little body in front of the window, hour after hour for nearly two weeks to fill you with enough sun light to purify the jaundice in your blood. You never fussed or complained.
You never do.
Your name, Joseph, means, "To increase." From your birth on a dark December night, light and love have increased and grown in our family.
Thank you, for your heroic nature. Thank you, for teaching us not to get so caught up in one view of ourselves or an experience that we lose sight of the wholeness of life, the delicate balance between good and bad, old and new, dark and light.
Thank you for following the example of the Savior and for making this a beautiful New Years Day.