The Fab Five

Ryan Elizabeth

6 Comments 13 August 2012

Among her afore-blogged-about sisters and brother, Ryan Elizabeth – or as she’ll likely be known someday:  Ryan Elizabeth, Superstar _________ (fill in the blank) – is without a doubt the overachiever of the bunch!  She was the first to crawl (a wounded soldier crawl, but effective mobility nonetheless), the first to walk, the first to run, the first to talk, and the first to hit just about every major baby milestone you can think of.  But that’s just the stuff of “achiever” status – she was the first to do lots of stuff, so what?  It’s not like she was trying to be the first; she just happened to be the first.  Rrrriiiiiggghhhtt?!  Uh, well, Ryan didn’t sit back and watch the parade go by once she marked each milestone off of the list. No, no, no…that is simply not Ryan’s style.

Here’s how a typical scene plays out around our house these days…

Casey:  ”Ok, guys, who wants to color a picture for Grandma’s birthday?”  All 5:  ”Me!  Me!  I do, I do, I do!!!!”  Casey passes out coloring sheets and five different-colored crayons to each.  Five minutes later, 2 of the 5 are done.  10 minutes in, everyone is done, all proudly displaying what appears to be basically the same picture:  several scribble marks randomly placed across the page, 2-3 colors have been used. Except for Ryan’s.  Not only has she used all of the colors she was given, she is asking for more.  And not only are the colors not randomly scattered, they are placed exactly within the lines or within the bounds of where Ryan’s imagination has placed them.  And not only is she not finished, she is just getting started and will likely not be finished for another couple of hours…little girl is focused!

Here’s another from The Fab Five’s earlier days…

Me:  ”Hey Jack, can you show me your new walking skills?  Walk over here buddy…you can do it!”  Ryan:  sitting across the room, drops the Rubik’s Cube, hops to her feet, and sprints – Usain Bolt-style – across the room, and jumps 5 feet in the air, completes a double somersault with a twist, and lands in my arms saying, “Look at how I can walk, Daddy!”  In the meantime, Jack is slowly plodding his way across the couple of feet between us,  first falling backwards because Ryan elbowed him in the chest as she flew past him, then falls forward onto his face as the tailwind from Ryan’s sprint hits him in the back, propelling him into the carpet before him.  Ryan basks in the glow of her decisive victory; Jack muddles on the carpet for awhile, spits up a little, and asks for milk…

Ok, maybe I am exaggerating a little…maybe.  And please don’t take this to mean that we feel that the other four are somehow inferior to Ryan in any way.  Read the blog posts I have done on each of the kids and I believe you’ll see that we celebrate our kids’ individuality and unique mix of God-given talents.  In Ryan’s case, the girl was definitely born with a keen intellect, a good dose of physical dexterity, and a strong competitive spirit, its force of will matched only by her desire to please!

There was a time, actually, that I thought I had Ryan pegged as our most challenging one.  Remember when we used to call her Ryan the Lion?  She came by that name honestly with her frequent and ferocious roars of discontent!  It sometimes seemed that nothing could please her and that she was more than ready to let you know about it!!  I distinctly remember a time when, in a fit of frustration, I prayed – please, God, don’t let her be as challenging as Eliot was when she was Ryan’s age – we can’t handle it with everything else going on!  (If you haven’t heard me mention this before, Eliot was more than a handful in her toddler years – screaming fits, willful challenges to our guidance, and loads of sassy attitude were an everyday occurrence in our home!)

But in spite of the all-too-frequent tantrums and tirades that came to define her, Ryan was always quick with a smile and long on laughter. And while the roar turned into a world class whine accompanied by frequent demands to serve her royal highness – our dining table was where the battle lines were oftentimes drawn up:  ”Mama, give me milk!”  ”I want yogurt, Mama!”  ”More grapes! More grapes! More grapes!” –   these days, Ryan has mellowed out a bit (and so has Eliot, thank God!).  As quickly as the little diva within her emerged (and thankfully before the little diva drove Mama to drinking), Ryan’s better angels won out and her eagerness to please has come to dominate her personality.  We haven’t called her The Lion in I don’t remember how long, though she can still light it up from time to time when she has been wronged!

These days, she is more often referred to as Ry-ry and these days, this is the Ry-ry that we know – a giggly goofball who loves to run and dance and play; a blond beauty with an iridescent smile and a sparkle in her eyes that seems to sparkle more than most; a budding brainiac who knows her abc’s, can spell her name, and memorizes books so that she can “read” them back to us; and a storyteller who will do just about anything to get a laugh out of her sisters and brother when we tell bedtime stories.  The Lion lies in slumber; R-ry is wide awake and ready to take on the world!!

I am about to wrap this up, but before I do I have to say a bit more about that sparkle in Ryan’s eyes.  There is something about the eyes of a child – don’t you love how they sparkle and shine?  All kids have it and it is as infectious as laughter!

Consider this…

It has often been said that the eyes are “a window to a person’s soul” and I know that there is truth to this.  But I would like to take it a step further.  Do you think it is possible that when you look into the eyes of a child who has been loved and who knows love, that you just might be looking into the eyes of Heaven?

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  Then followed that with this, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Wow!  Clearly he had not spent time with Ryan during her Lion days or with Britton on any of her every-days when he made these statements!!  Kidding, kidding…of course, I’m kidding.  My kids are pure as the driven snow…………

Look, we all know kids are fun and goofy and innocent and super-cute and all that.  But we also all know that they can be the complete opposite of all of that!  So what did he see?  What was it about the children around him that caused Christ to utter such things?

Maybe I’m alone in this, but am I going too far to think that the reason Christ said this, the reason that he was so emphatic and enthusiastic about the purity and faith of a child is that when he looked into their eyes, into that child’s soul, he saw himself staring back at him?  Is it too much to think that in the eyes of a child, he saw the very essence of love, joy, and peace…of hope and of faith?  I don’t think so.  Because that is exactly what I see when I look into the eyes of my kids.

Look into your child’s eyes today and tell me you do not see the same thing.  Not when they are throwing fits and being crazy, of course – that’s when I’m pretty sure there is nothing but the Devil in those eyes!!  But when they are looking to you to play with them, to love on them, to show them something new, to teach them, or just to be with them, can you see anything less than God’s goodness shining through?

God’s goodness in the eyes of a child…and therein lies the sparkle…

God bless,

Ethan

 

 

Your Comments

6 Comments so far

  1. Claire B. says:

    The truth, the sincerity, the simplest theory, AMAZING – the graces of the lord shown and shared in this way! Touching… Moving… and compelling. Jones’s family thank you x I try to be the best parent I can be failing, succeeding?? but i know in my heart of hearts my two boys have been touched by your kindness as it helps to inspire me knowing the journey is full of adventure!! Bring it on and ENJOY X

  2. Samantha says:

    And yet, she was the last to be born ;)

    I love what you wrote about all of your kids. I hope we get watch them on TV again.

  3. Megan says:

    First to do everything, last to be born!! You guys are amazing parents, your kids are so lucky to be in a blessed family like yours!

  4. Karin says:

    I just saw that a different family in Texas named Jones delivered quints. Jones is a common name, but still what are the odds? Pretty cool. Bless you all!

  5. Carol says:

    What a wonderful portrayal of a very special little girl. Go Ryan, we need a woman president in the near future!

  6. Linda M. says:

    Ethan,

    As usual your writing was very entertaining! I love the way you write of your family and that you notice every child as a singular gift, unique and special, part of the big picture, and integral to it.

    I agree with you that GOD is in the eyes of the child. I think that most of the children who have been treated with love in this world have the joy inside them that I identify as the Joy Of The Lord.

    They are more sensative to His presence, love, direction and truths. When He calls them, they hear His voice because they haven’t learned to tune Him out yet; they’re not “too busy” (too opinionated, other minded, tired, etc.) to listen to His direction.

    Christ said not to offend the little children because He knew that when adults “offend” (molest, hurt, starve, beat) little children all of the above goes away and they start seperating from the Lord. That’s why offending them is not a good thing; it starts them on the road away from the Lord.

    The way you love and treat your family is so wonderful. I still want you to write that book!


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