And Then, There were Four

10:41 PMHeather

I have my own little science experiment going here. Sorta a work in progress on the wonders of genetics--and the curiosity of how these three children actually DO have the same parents? Cannot really determine nature versus nurture...they all three have the same of both (or at least I TRY to nurture them each as much as the other ones).

From the time he was in the womb, my second child was nothing like my calm, laid back firstborn. I should have known then. When I would lie down, that child would kick and jump and flip cartwheels. He seemed ready to party constantly. I bit my tongue when Chris' Mamaw watched our newborn son and commented on how "that baby never stops moving!" I managed, despite my post partum hormones, to politely respond, "Yes, that is what I was talking about these last few months." I laughed out loud when my toddler Cooper finally verbalized, "I don't like to sleep. I might miss something."

Nine years ago--at this very moment--I held my second child, enjoying our first full day together. Unlike my first delivery, my second one went quickly. I mean, really quickly. Not to offer too much information--but Cooper was born with two pushes. The nurse said he would have delivered himself--with or without my help. He was just ready to see the world. Not much has changed there. And, just as he didn't much need my help to be born--he has always been fairly confident that he doesn't need much guidance.

I can hardly find words to describe the complexity that is my second born. Cooper is energy and joy and laughter--this great laugh that makes me laugh. He does all things on full throttle--happiness, sadness, anger, confusion, compassion, and love. We tell him that God just wired him to feel things BIG--which will undoubtedly be part of whatever God has for him. Just like in-utero, Cooper loves to flip cartwheels to show his pure contentment.

One thing I most admire about Cooper is his ability to feel other's pain. I've found I'll never sob alone in his presence. Several years ago, at my grandmother's funeral, Cooper could hardly contain his weeping. I overhead an elderly lady comment, "Oh, that poor boy must have been so close to his great grandmother." I couldn't really correct her. Cooper barely knew his great Granny. The truth of it is that my mother-in-law started crying during the song that had been sung at her own father's funeral. Seeing his grandma shed tears was too much for him. He just clung to her and cried without a hint of being self-conscience.

Cooper has always been this think outside the box child. When he was three, he drew a superhero on the front of a piece of paper. On the back of the paper, he drew the cape as if you were looking at the back of that same superhero. When he was old enough to begin dressing himself, he would wear his clothes backward. And inside out. When I would gingerly point this out, he would simply say, "Yep, I know. I like my clothes this way." I learned quickly to give him the freedom of expression. He is creative and artistic and a deep thinker. At age five, he said, "Mom, you know, God is the door to life, and Satan is the lock. BUT, Jesus is the key!" I was intrigued by this analogy, and asked him where he learned it. "Oh, no one taught me that. I just made it up." Yep, I've just about given up trying to stay a step ahead of him.

I cannot believe 9 years have passed since my Cooper entered the world. Cooper, you are the life of the party. Life with you is never dull. Although at times it is hard for me, I really do admire how you know what you think and what you feel, and you don't hesitate to let it be known. I love your kind heart--your ability to feel so deeply what others feel, to own their pain and their joy as your very own. I love your creativity that is beyond my comprehension, your problem solving, your independence. You have much to teach me. We try to make your birthdays special--but the truth is, I hope you know every day how very special you are. Thank you for the privilege it is to be the mom of the great and wonderful Super Cooper!

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