(on the plane home, September 2009)
My, what a year has done! As Andrew's language skills have taken off, he has lost almost all capacity for quiet! He wants to know everything and will ask a million questions in pursuit of that knowledge. And, then, he is not shy in voicing his own opinions about things either. Honest and bold are terms I think could be fairly used to describe our boy.
We have learned that determination is a key aspect of Andrew's personality. Whether that is a result of some genetic component or some element of his early life experience, it is hard to say. However, if you are watching him engage in some sporting event, tackling a homework assignment, or simply creating his own imaginary world in play, there is no mistaking his passionate and full involvement.
Andrew also loves to make people laugh. His crazy dance moves and hilarious facial expressions can cause his brothers and sisters to completely lose it. (It's pretty hard for Mom and Dad to keep straight faces, too!)
Andrew is also very practical. He likes when things make sense. He prefers when people cooperate and do their duty. He often has a certain understanding about how things "should" work. He is also quick to notice inconsistency (and, of course, is not afraid to bring it to the attention of others!) I like to think of this as his sense of honor (or honour--for all my Canadians!!) Sure, he's had his own set of not-so-smart choices in the past year, but his heart is set to do right. He lays down a great example as a big brother.
(One year later--September 27, 2010)
Just the other day, we were driving home from a party. Because we had someone traveling with us, I had the distinct pleasure of riding home in the back seat of the minivan between my two big boys. Needless to say, we were snuggled in back there pretty cozily. (Andrew does like to snuggle and hold hands, although he is often a reluctant straight-on hugger and avoids kisses as much as possible.) I got telling stories from "back when Mom was a kid." I thoroughly enjoyed their attentiveness, empathy for my childhood struggles, and appropriate giggles over my own young silliness.
Tucking Andrew in bed that night, we asked our traditional bedtime question: "What was your favorite part of the day?" He thought for a moment and then answered, "My favorite was playing hockey this morning." (It was his first, long-awaited practice, so this was no surprise!) But, then, he quickly added, "And talking with you in the van."
For me, that one comment, which evidenced his valuing of our connection, serves as a great bookend for a remarkable year of discovery. We have been privileged to uncover the incredible nuances of this 8-year-old even as he has been discovering how to navigate a whole new world.
He is our champ, and we are blessed to be family!