Our joyful, strong, tender, kind, social, thoughtful son turned nine on Monday.
Quinn is a rare soul. His mind so complex that it frustrates him sometimes. He tells us that the thought patterns in his brain (he tried to draw them) are so many and so layered that he can not possibly show them on paper. I believe him. As I watch him process the world I can barely keep up. My mind does not go where his does. He is extraordinary in that brain – skilled to problem and puzzle solve, to connect the pieces in new and innovative ways. He always asks why? Why not? Why couldn’t we? He thinks of new ways to do things. He will change the world.
He comes with us into meetings, sermons, and classes and he listens hard, as he sketches the time away, drawing cartoons soldiers and guns in his notebook. Later he asks questions, makes comments, shares his impressions of the speakers. He is always observing, always thinking, always aware. His discernment always switched to on. He does not hesitate to let us know when a situation does not “feel” right to him.
He loves guns,warfare, and stratagizing and spends hours wandering the townhouse complex where we live, imagining out battles in his head. A broom handle serves him well as a weapon, alongside his many toy guns and swords. This year he has learned a little of the horror of real war. But this does not stop him from building up the beauty of his warrior spirit. I read to him, an adult book about the training of a Navy Seal. He listens, fascinated, taking it all in. In his mind, he asks and answers all the time, “do I have what it takes?”.
Dressed in his new gi (martial art clothing), he practices kajukenbo moves with speed, precision and strength. This boy is solid, all muscle and dimple.. He is learning to carry his strength with honor. These days he rarely hits or pushes his sister anymore. He uses strong and powerful words – words that sometimes dismay me. He is growing in his self control.
Quinn is a cuddler, his love language touch. Homeschooling allows us the joy, this year, of “cuddle math” and long hours curled up reading together. He scrunches up close during church and loves to lay in bed with either of us during story time. Each kiss goodbye as I leave for an errand is an opportunity for him to add in an enthusiastic hug and “I LOVE you mom!” He and his daddy spend hours on the couch together, immersed in cartoon books, science books, history books, and books on weaponry and warfare.
He still does not choose to read chapter books for fun . . . though he is just beginning to take off in that way. He spends a great deal of his time reading reference books, scouring picture details of architecture and history. He flies through manga comic books and Tin Tins and Hardy Boys.
Quinn is a social guy, the most social of us all. His longings center around contacts with friends, be they neighborhood kids, school friends or long-distance friends on Skype. Once together they run and roughhouse throughout the house and yard, playing with small action figures or against imaginary foes. Each body noise an opportunity for laughter. They tell each other jokes and stories and arrive briefly at the kitchen table to devour huge amounts of food before heading back out for more fun.
Quinn has dreams of scaling El Capitan, a giant rock face in Yellowstone. He wants to start by bouldering this year. He dreams of seeing the day sickle cell is eradicated and believes with fervor that the healing can start with his small friend Nancy, in Bundibugyo. He wants to fly (with or without an airplane.) He can not decide from day to day what to be when he grows up, but most days he says he will be an inventor – actually he already is. He does not want to work for money, but for passion. He asked me recently, “how many weeks do you have to work for the Navy before you can get a pension?”
His cat, Soloman, is his new best buddy. Man-Man wakes Quinn each morning and they play comical games all day, both enjoying acrobatics and laughter. Fortunately Soloman is a snuggler too and they enjoy movies and computer time together each day.
I find Quinn hard to describe this year. It’s become hard to wrap into words the wonder of this boy-man growing . . . . this person coming alive. This spirit only somewhat represented by the skin and behaviors he wears today. We have the gift of another beautiful year together. Another year to learn who He is in him. And to watch and nurture and bless that becoming.