Ezie is eight today. J and I try to be very intentional about celebrating him in a special way. Even though we aren’t doing a big party like when he turned one, three, four, or seven, we still want him to know how amazing he is. He is after all the quintessential middle child. With four kids you have two that are sandwiched in between the firstborn and the baby of the family, but since the other middle child has special needs then that really leaves one kiddo at risk for being overlooked. I’m not saying that it is inevitable, but it’s something we try to be aware of and avoid.
What stands out the most about Ezie is just how lovable he is. I’ve mentioned before about how much of a hugger he is.
This was his “All-About-Me” poster for school.
I am special because: I give hugs
Favorite Book: The Hug Machine
I help others by: Making them feel better by hugging them
One time he came with me to an eye appointment for Z and in the middle of the exam Ezie jumped from his chair and hugged the Doctor. I apologized but she told me not to and welcomed the embrace.
He also talks to strangers all the time. There was a group training for a marathon in Cincinnati one day while we were there and Ezie at 6 years old stopped to put his hand out for people to give high fives and they obliged by extending their hand as they ran past. You could be homeless, a giant, disabled, or covered in tattoos and piercings and Ezie will be sure to say hello. Some of us struggle with how to show kindness to those who look different or even intimidating. Others show kindness because someone looks like they appear destitute so they want to help out or make a difference. Ezie doesn’t even seem to pay attention or notice any of this. He just does it because it makes sense to his childhood innocence.
J and I have both prayed that we would have just a fraction of the kindness and courage that he shows naturally in this area.
I have one final story of how this kid has taught me how to make the world a better place. For homeschool, we are discussing each of the countries in the World. On the day we were learning about Antigua and Barbuda I showed them a Youtube video. It was the simplest little cartoon with the islands of Antigua and Barbuda singing about their land. As we were watching Ezie looked really confused. His brow furrowed and his nose was crinkled as he asked “Why did someone give this video a thumbs down?” I said “Oh that’s just because there is always someone negative. Especially on the internet, there are people called trolls who like to hide behind screens and bully others.” He said, “I can’t believe someone would do that.”
The happy little video went on about Antigua and Barbuda between the Caribean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean… As the song played most of us were bobbing our heads to the music but Ezie still watched with concern. At the very end he said, “Mom, I just don’t understand about trolls on the internet”. The other children were starting to get distracted and cause trouble so I couldn’t focus. At this point, I was just ready to move on. I was hoping he might learn something and instead he’s obsessed with why someone would thumbs down an educational YouTube video.
I sigh and throw my hands up in the air to signal I don’t know. Let’s drop it. Then as I go to close the tab Ezie says “Wait!” So I paused. “Can we give it a thumbs up?” he looked at me with hopeful eyes. My heart was softened in that moment.
He had so much compassion and sincerity in why he wanted to give a thumbs up to this YouTube video. So I told Ezra we most certainly could and I clicked thumbs up on the video. He may not have learned much about Antigua and Barbuda that day, but I learned so much. Sometimes the solution to all the negativity is just some simple encouragement. It’s a hug to your brother’s ophthalmologist. It’s a high five for a runner that is exhausted. It’s a thumbs up for a children’s educational YouTube video.
Today it’s celebrating the boy who has taught me that.