Today’s first was another birthday get together. My niece’s son, Kaleb, turns three years old tomorrow. Because my family loves to celebrate each other, as often as we can, we gathered today in Broken Arrow, OK to spend time with one of the younger members of the family.
Kaleb is a extraordinary kid. He lives in a big, beautiful house with his mommy and daddy, older brother Ethan, and his Meem. That’s what the boys call their grandmother, who is also my sister, Debbie. Kaleb captured my heart immediately after his birth. He is an old soul, in a young body. And this boy and I have a special bond. We have been communicating with each other long before he could speak! As a baby he’d turn and smile at me, knowingly, and I’d smile back. Our eyes would meet, and our gazes lock, and that’s all we needed to do to start the flow of love and joy and understanding between us.
Kaleb is gifted in his abilities to know things and understand the way the world works, far beyond his current ability to speak about what he knows. He’s a deep thinker. He is the happiest of children and his smiles light up the room. His little face is animated and he is a master at expressing what’s going on in his sharp mind. He is such a joy to his mom, dad, brother and grandmother, who love him so. When we are together, we slip into an easy camaraderie, aunt and nephew, yes, but more than that, kindred souls.
During a recent overnight visit to Kaleb’s house, I enjoyed his company as the family watched a movie and I blogged. He snuggled up against my side, watching me as I typed, talking to me in hushed tones. When I completed my post, and put the computer away, he settled into my lap and we finished watching the movie together. Afterward, I had the honor of putting him to bed. I had to leave his room for a few minutes, promising I would return. And I did, in a short time. Kaleb was lying quietly watching for me, his big eyes filled with tears. He didn’t complain or cry or even speak. His eyes told me he was wondering if I would, indeed, come back. I sunk down next to his bed and held his little hand, brushing the hair back from his forehead with my other hand. He blinked the tears away, gave me a beautiful smile and sighing, closed his eyes, gripping my hand tightly. I sat there for a long time, watching Kaleb and listening to his breathing grow steady and deep as sleep overtook him. It was a precious moment and I whispered blessings into his life and asked for guidance and protection for him.
This afternoon, we gathered around Kaleb at the Build a Bear Workshop as he selected a purple pony to become his birthday buddy. Scott, Nicole and baby Weston surprised Kaleb with this wonderful gift. This was my first time to visit a Build a Bear facility and it was fun to watch Kaleb move through the steps that ended with him cuddling a new stuffed toy. Across the road we had lunch at Chuck E Cheese, where the adults munched on pizza and chatted while Jon, Scott and Nicole chased after the boys. The pizza restaurant was noisy and colorful, full of children plugging tokens into machines that rewarded them with tickets. Kaleb had a great afternoon trying out different games.
I deeply love and appreciate all of my grandchildren and great nieces and nephews. Each of them has gifts and abilities that I marvel at and encourage. It is a great joy to watch them as they are growing up. It is so important to celebrate them and shower them with affection. Today was Kaleb’s special day to shine. I look forward to journeying with him, and all the others. What adventures we will have.