School started last week, which means I’m waking up at or around 6 am to start my day, sometimes earlier. I don’t necessarily have to get up at that time, but that is when the oldest wakes up and starts getting ready for his day. The first week he struggled with eating because of his bottom braces that were just put on, so I got up and made him oatmeal. By the time he made it downstairs it’s cooled enough for him to eat. Then I sit with him or do chores in the kitchen while he eats. We talk a little, not about anything really. I know that those conversations are important, even when they seem so pointless. I don’t get up because I have to, I get up because I want to. I get up because I know our days are numbered. Yeah, he’s only 12, but he’ll be starting high school tomorrow, driving next week, going to prom and graduating next month. No, not literally, but I’ll look back at some point and that’s what it will feel like.
His life will feel like a blur. Sure, certain moments will always stick out. The way he would sing “Low” by Flo Rida at age 2.5 isn’t something that will leave my memory. Great parenting! HAHA! I’ll never forget the way he cried before going on stage in a very small show at theater camp in the second grade. I’ll always remember his reaction the day his twin brothers came home. As much as we tried to prepare him for twin brothers, he didn’t understand that the “two babies” came at the same time. He thought one came and the other came “out later!” Oh 3-year-old Isaiah Keith, I miss you. However, 12-year-old Isaiah Keith is pretty awesome too. He’s coming into his own as a student, athlete, artist, humanitarian, believer. It’s equally enjoyable to watch, but sometimes heartbreaking. I know he has struggles that he doesn’t want to discuss with me. I’m sure things will occur in the coming years that I want no knowledge of, but I also know he is a good kid. I find a great deal of reassurance in that. He loves God and roller coasters. He can run like the wind and write with unrelenting passion. He keeps his room clean, but is insistent that this head full of thick curly hair goes uncut. He doesn’t care about labels on clothing and wouldn’t notice name brand, off brand or no brand on himself or anyone else. He’s such a hard worker. He has a natural work ethic that I envy. He does his homework every single day right after he gets home from school, with no prompting from me. Even his weekend homework! He does it right after school on Friday. I mean, that’s CRAZY to me.
He loves his brothers and he plays with them, including the toddler. I’m guessing that won’t last forever, but I’ll take it without complaint for the time being. As his mother I have to constantly remind him that even though he is the oldest, I am the one in charge. However, I always encourage him to be a leader. Leading comes naturally to him, so I want him to nurture that, find people to look up to. Follow their example so that he is able to be an example to his younger brothers. Rather he likes it or not, or wants it or not, those boys do and always will look up to him. I want him to put less pressure on himself, but I want him to succeed. I want him to have friends that love him for who he is. I want him to know he is enough just how he is. He is handsome and funny. He is talented and smart. He is kind, which above all else is my favorite thing about him. His talent, looks and brains may one day dim. His compassion, his heart, his deep love for others and those less than is my favorite trait about him and those will go on well into last days, long after I’m gone.
I want him to know that those brief moments in the morning when it’s just me and him will one day be fond memories of mine. I hope I have those same moments with his siblings and I hope I can always look back and remember the special things about each of them, but the truth is I may not be able to. He used to love “Toy Story,” now he loves “The Office”. He used to play with matchbox cars, now he scrolls through Instagram. I used to buckle him into a car seat, now he sits beside me in the front seat of the car and requests certain music. He used to sleep with his silky every night and that silky is now packed away in a box in his closet. There was so much more I used to remember about Isaiah, that I no longer do. I guess that’s to be expected with four kids, but a few things are his alone and it’s important that I keep them sacred.
He’s getting to an age where writing about him may not happen as often because while I love to put my feelings into words and share them, he is old enough to read them. I want to respect his privacy and do my best not to embarrass him. At least with my writing. I still plan to embarrass him in other ways. 😉 With every passing day, I’m certain I become a little less cool to him. He doesn’t love me in the needing hugs and kisses all day long way like his two-year old brother, but I know he loves me, even when we disagree. I think he knows I’m always in his corner. I’m always on his team. I will always be his biggest fan. Right now, I’m choosing to show that love by those few early minutes every weekday morning in the kitchen. Right now those early mornings are his. I know the teenage years are coming. I know they’ll be days he “hates me.” I’m fairly certain we have already had a couple of days like that. In those times, I’m going to try to close my eyes and picture the little boy who once wore his “Woody Boots” everywhere and try to grasp the idea that a grown man will someday stand where the moody teenager was.