Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Whole Entire Blog Post About Brendan Luke

Happy Birthday Lukey:)

My tallest, blondest child turns 16 today!

I remember being SO geared up for his birth. Not like the other time, with that first baby, when I was kuh-loo-less.

I had two years of parenting experience, a precious little compliant child that followed my instructions and proved my sketchy theories perfectly, tons of nap times in which to read dozens of parenting books, and thanks to daily stroller walks, I was ending this second pregnancy lighter than I started the first, I was gonna be ALL kinds of ready for this child!

I seriously had his proposed nursing schedule on a legal pad weeks before he was born. I know. Shaking my head and squinting at myself right now.

And that is all I can write about "how I was gonna be unstoppable" with Luke.

His labor took days. I wanted to give up. But eventually I birthed that melon-head, and I loved everything about him with all my heart.

At three weeks old, he contracted meningitis and we were hospitalized for a week. (It was the week that Monica Lewinsky was plastered all over every channel day after day after obnoxious day.) I wanted to leave for so many reasons.

Philip says I never really trusted that Luke was healed after that. He says I treated him differently.
Perhaps. Spinal taps and tubes in skulls are scary. Memories leave scars ... even after healing.

Ok, cut to Luke's second Christmas. I sat the boys down and explained that the candy canes on the tree were to offer our holiday guests. If they took one, they would get a spanking. I asked if they understood. They each said, "Yes, Ma'am."

We were "hands in, 'Reindeer' on three" and that was a good talk. Until I watched Luke leave my inspirational speech, walk over to the tree, take two candy canes, and bend over the couch cushion to receive his licks.

What I intended for self-discipline, he perceived as negotiations.

And that is all I can write about "how I kept thinking this thing might get easier."

He is the reason we began to home school. He was three years old. He and Landen were riding in the backseat while we ran errands. He asked if we could go to the dollar store. I said I didn't know because I only had a five dollar bill and I needed to buy stamps. I was really just tossing out possible excuses to get him to hush. fail.

"How much do stamps cost?" he asked. I said, "a couple dollars." Immediately, he spouted off that we could totally go to the dollar store, because "if you pay your five dollars at the post office, the lady will give you three dollars back, and there are three of us, so that would be one for each of us to buy one thing at the dollar store."

He was barely three. What in the big wide world was I supposed to do with him for two years until he was invited to Kindergarten where they would want him to say his numbers and identify the orange triangle??

I remember his first T-ball game. He was precious. He was scanning the infield from his position at shortstop ... intuitively knowing what strategies needed to be implemented ... mumbling instructions and reminders under his breath to his teammates.

I sat on the second bleacher, and thought, "Dear Lord, he really is going to be the managerial type."

He was the youngest Johnson to harvest a deer. His passion for the hunt, skillful marksmanship, and impeccable vision (inherited from his father) earned him the nick-name: "Dead-eye Johnson".

When he was a toddler, he would call from his bed in the morning, "Momma! Kin I git up???" If I said yes, he would hurry in to hop in bed with us. One morning when I was pregnant with Ardyn, I had to climb over him to exit our bed. His peppy preschool voice declared, "Wow. You are large. Large like an elephant."

And that is all I can write about "how honesty is/is not the best policy."

I remember the day his Sunday school teacher called to say that he had confessed to the class that if his options were sheep who loved Jesus, or goats who didn't, he wanted to be a goat. (complete with the "nyeehhh" sound. have mercy.) Philip and I were so concerned that we began to pray immediately. I honestly thought we would have to pray diligently for decades to see him come to the Lord.

Two days later, he came into our room while Philip was getting dressed for work. He began to cry and he said, "Mom & Dad, I've been playin' on the devil's team, but I wanna change my heart and play on God's team from now on." Philip picked up the phone and called in late to work. He knelt with Luke in the corner by our bed to talk and pray. Then he showed Luke how he was writing that day's date in the margin of Romans 10 in his Bible.

Sixteen! He is not that little blond-bowled, dimpled guy with bright blue eyes who couldn't whisper in church. He is tall and handsome, smart and sweet, driven and determined. I love his logical outlook on life. I love his sense for humor. I love it when he hugs me like he means it. I love it when he is sweet to his sisters. I love it when he laughs with his brother. I love it when he [thinks he still can] arm wrestle his dad.

I love watching him prepare a devotional for FCA's an exercise in spiritual leadership.
I love it when he wants to take something special to a teacher ... it's evidence of respect.
I love it when he remembers his friends' birthdays and makes them feel special.
I love that he works hard ... it means he'll be able to provide well for a family.
I love that he is an excellent baby sitter ... it means he's well on his way to being a great dad.
I love that he is a good listener ... it means he's well on his way to being a great husband and friend.
I love that he is so great at so many things ... it means the sky is the limit.

Happy Birthday, Brendan Luke! You are the gift!!