Wednesday, March 11, 2020

a walk down memory lane and Graham

Today is Graham's 21st birthday!  I can't believe that, even as I write that.  It seems like yesterday he was in the fifth grade, and living his best life.  (Although he's still living his best life.)

I posted on Instagram this morning that the years between sixth grade and now are just a blur.  I've heard so many people say this, but it's so true, that once they get to middle school, you blink and it's graduation or after graduation.  I am so glad for all the memories we have made with our sons in our family, I can honestly say that I don't feel like we wished the years away.  We were busy, and though we may not have traveled extensively, they have gotten to do some pretty amazing things.

I thought I'd share some stand-out moments from years gone by, both for him and his brothers.

I'll never forget the night my neighbor Beth called me and asked me to check if her oven was turned off.  I don't remember how it went from that request to Graham being the one checking, like as he'd been walking by her house, but when he passed by, he saw smoke in her house and called 911.  Her oven was turned off, but there was eye on the stove that had been left on by one of her boys with noodles in it.  Needless to say, it was a good thing Beth called me and asked us to check.  He was out there talking with the firefighters when they came, and they wanted to talk to him, since he'd been the one to make the call.  He has never been intimidated around adults, not since he was two years old.

I remember these years and thinking they would never grow up.  They were all so good, really, I just had my hands full with all those active boys.  If one didn't do it, the other one thought it and convinced them all to participate.  (Usually the instigator was Drew.)  My hands may have been full, but my heart was even more so.  We used to go out to eat pretty often (hello, kids eat free nights), and we could hardly even finish a meal without someone stopping by and complimenting how well behaved they all were.  And they were!  Out in the public, as I always said.  They saved their crazy for home, which was a good thing, but man, they ran me ragged.  I really wanted people to like us all and I wanted to be invited over to friend's houses; I was afraid once we found out that we would have four boys, that people would be scared of us.  (I didn't want my boys to be known for how obnoxious and mean they were, which are how people think of boys.)  I remember crying about this and Todd telling me that we would just make sure we raised them to be polite and kind.

I got my drill sergeant tendencies from them, because I had to be like one.  I was pretty strict when they were this little, and there were several things I never stood for, a few of them being meanness, hitting/punching, saying the words "I hate you", tattle taling, and whining.  They all knew what all those things meant by the time they'd reached the age of two.

I like to think that all that paid off, because these days, they all get along great.  (Mostly.)  They're all very close to one another, and that's something  I always prayed for.  I would always tell them as they sat around the kitchen table, that friends would come and friends would go, but that their relationship with one another would be something they would have for life.  Plus, between Jonah and Noah and Graham, there were only four years, so of course they would be close.

This will always be one of my favorite memories.  These boys were all obsessed with the Fab Five gymnast stars from the Summer Olympics (and Makayla Maroney), and we surprised them with tickets to see them perform on this night.  We never told them what we were doing until we pulled into this garage, and they all guessed.  That excitement you see on their faces was genuine.

I share these, because Graham loves our friend Marissa.  We never guessed when we went on a family mission trip to the Navajo reservation that we would gain a lifetime friend in her.  She and Graham clicked instantly, and she is like the big sister to him he never knew he wanted.  He is such a great and loyal friend, but for some reason, he's never had a ton of friends.  He's always preferred adults or people who were years older than him, so maybe that's why.  He's also always had a lot of friends who were girls, since he was in elementary school.  The friends he did have in elementary school are friendships that are no longer a thing, but he's okay with that, because I think he realizes that sometimes those types of relationships are just for a season.  I did get excited when he told me one friend from elementary school that would always come over is living here in Memphis again.  Brayden moved away when they were young, and Graham actually ran into him as he was leaving work a couple of weeks ago.  He stopped and they both recognized each other and made plans to get together.  The guys he hangs out with now are friends he's made in the last couple of years.

These days, Graham works full time and volunteers as a first responder with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.  He is constantly stopping and assisting people when he drives by, and thanks to his constant smile and personable ways, they're always so thankful.  He works as a part of the tech team at church and is occasionally paid for doing things like running the sound for weddings or funerals.  He loves his truck more than anything else, pretty much, and he loves going to and participating in truck meets.  He loves life and enjoys it all to the fullest, and it's evident when you talk to him.  He's a pretty great big brother, too, except for when he initiates arguments with them.  (He can aggravate like no other.)

I'm so proud of him, though, and for the godly man he's grown into.  I know he's not reading this, but happy birthday, Graham.  I love you more.

(And again, if you're still around, thanks for reading!  Love to all.)

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