So without further ado, meet Sketch. He is my number three, our puzzle and constant mystery. My husband has been known to say, "He is always in character. We just don't know what character." He is the only kid I know who has asked Santa for costumes. I'll never forget the Christmas he asked for a Lone Ranger costume and how he visibly shook with excitement as he dressed up Christmas morning. Through the years he has filled our home with every super hero known as well as some of the men behind those masks. For example, he likes asking me to comb his hair like Peter Parker or when dressed in his Sunday best he says he looks like Bruce Wayne. One year he chose his Easter “frock” based on the similar style to Dr. Jones. He has spent hours playing "Indiana Jones" and until recently would say he wanted to be an archaeologist when he grows up. His first grade year introduced us to a character he drew over and over again, “grown up Sam”. His resemblance to Professor Jones was un-mistakable. We have experienced a young Michael Jackson era, Halloween 2013. For weeks he watched young Michael Jackson performances on YouTube. His music was all he wanted played in the car. So when he spotted the big “fro” among the accessories down the costume aisle he had his inspiration for his Halloween character. If he has taught us anything it is that his interests are diverse and ever changing.
I can’t describe this child of mine without sharing with you his love of drawing and writing. He is a true artist in every sense of the word. One of his favorite things to do is draw picture after picture and staple them together creating a book. Before he could read or write he would bring his stapled papers and ask us to write the story while he dictated to us what was happening in his illustrations. As he learned to read and write he flourished with a new freedom of how to express what he sees in his imagination.
He is captivated by a moving picture. My husband has said he thinks Sketch sees daily life as movie scenes (thus the always in character). He has movies he watches over and over. He even enjoys watching the version with the Director instructions. When we simply ask how his day was at school he will recount his day in storyline format complete with grand hand gestures for the title (like he sees it in lights on a marquee) and with a role playing of all the people he encountered throughout the day. He amazes us with what seems to be a natural ability to improv. He and a crazy uncle of mine entertained the whole room one night at a family gathering. It all started with one of them jokingly speaking with a foreign accent. They hurled zingers and one-liners at each other in all kinds of accents. My uncle would insult in his best Irish accent and my little guy would answer. Back and forth they would go each rising to the challenge of the next accent and funnier insult. The roar of laughter from the family was constant. The sound only died down for a moment while we waited to see whose brain would fire the quickest. Obviously, it was memorable.
It is instances like this one and others that have clued us into Sketch being special in his own unique way. The kid has never had an emotion he did not want the world to experience with him. His ability to express himself with just a look or a funny face could rival Jim Carey. His willingness to be goofy and sacrifice his whole body to physical humor is astounding. I have often listed comedic greats when trying to describe what is like raising Sketch. He really is delightful and challenging all in the same moment. He is the lovingness little dude. I had a good friend say her son’s love language is Velcro. This is so true of Sketch. My Mom has often noticed how he loves to be near you. For example,he will sometimes be engrossed in playing a game on his DS or iPad. He will be leaned against my Mom with his legs thrown over my Daddy’s lap. You would think he was oblivious to the basketball game being played by his brother or sister. Just completely uninterested in what is going on around him. And then he chimes in on the conversation or later remarks about the happenings you thought he missed. Always aware and attentive to those around him.
He is our baby, and very content in the role. Learning we were expecting him offered my husband and I one of our greatest life surprises. He is no different than a lot of third children. Not planned according to our time table. I will never forget the night my suspicions were confirmed. The test spelled it out, PREGNANT! All I could do was stare in disbelief. Then the tears started to flow. My husband came and found me crying and with a big grin he said, “Well?” He read the word and his grin turned into the biggest smile! Through my tears and feelings of being overwhelmed I said, “I don’t think you understand. Our baby girl is only thirteen months old, and we are going to be out numbered now.” With the peace and calm my husband brings to my life he said, “Oh honey, it is just a matter of changing our defense from man to man coverage to zone defense.”
So we changed our defense and we run the zone most of the time. Sketch brought a new dynamic to our family. He up-ed our game! He keeps us all on our toes as we try to match his unrelenting energy. To be such a little guy he never stops, and his wheels are always turning. The hours we have all spent doubled over in laughter at what comes out of his mouth. How we have all marveled at the things he conjures up in his brain. Like my other two he has the gift of quick wit they all inherited from their Dad. But Sketch is different. Before he came along we thought the differences we noticed between our other two were differences due to one being a boy and the other a girl. But Sketch continues to provide evidence that all children are different. He has taught us there is wonder in uniqueness. He has taught me the beauty of the unplanned.
I can’t imagine life without my amusing, entertaining little guy. Like his brother and sister he was the exact amount of God’s goodness when I needed it. But he laid claim to my heart differently. His unexpectedness brings to life words of a poem I first learned when my Granddaddy left this world. My grief stricken Grandmother shared them with us as she planned his life celebration. The poem is reflective in nature. The lines repeat, “I’m drinking from the saucer , ‘Cause my cup has overflowed.” Sketch represents that for me…. The overflow of my cup. The reality of abundant blessings given so freely when I ask and even when I don’t. He is the unspoken desires of my heart, granted. He is what completes our group of five. Our exclamation point!
My husband and I have often discussed if we possess what it will take to raise our unique little dude with all of his
diverse interests and talents. Our discussion usually follows one of Sketch’s impromptu performances that leaves us laughing and shaking our heads. What will he do in life? What will he become? We really have no idea. We look at him and see more mystery than certainty. Someone always at work on his incomplete picture. He arrived and our lives were forever changed. We are now content to sit back and enjoy the show!