The first photo:
Caleb's heart. He is fifteen years old, and has such a tender heart. Each evening, he gets on the floor to wrestle with Hope and Charlie. Hope climbs all over him like he is a set of monkey bars, and Charlie will crawl all around the floor in an all-out effort to "get Caleb" with his little pudgy fingers and bright red hair; both laughing so hard they can hardly stand it. In addition, Caleb is the first to retrieve them from the car whenever we go somewhere, carefully covering them in blankets to protect them from the cold or rain. Both Hope and Charlie arch their backs when the car stops in hopes it will be "his or her turn" this time. Caleb is diligent to keep track of whose turn it is, because he always wants to be fair. In public, Caleb is not embarrassed to talk baby talk with his young siblings, to wipe a runny nose, or act goofy to get a laugh from one who might be fussy. Such softness.
The second photo:
Caleb's heart. Caleb is a fierce competitor. He LOVES sports and games of all kinds. When he goes out onto a court, a field, or a course, he gives 100%. He screams in praise when a fellow team mate does well, and lends a hand to the opponent who falls. He is a strategizer who is constantly thinking two or three steps ahead of the game. In January, our family made a spur-of-the-moment decision to pull Caleb from homeschooling to allow him the chance to play sports in the public school system. How tough is it to enter a school in the middle of the year when relationships have already been formed, a basketball team has already been playing together, and especially when you haven't been part of a public system since Kindergarten? But Caleb met the challenge. Within a week, he earned his spot as a starter on the basketball team, he is making all A's and B's, and he has made many new friends.
Last night was Caleb's last game of the season. The game ended when the opposing team scored a goal in the last 2 seconds of the game to put them ahead by 1 point. It was a great game! Caleb congratulated the other team, but his heart was up in his throat as he somehow managed to hold back tears of disappointment. My competitor.
Two pictures that show two sides of the same boy. Who would guess the boy who dreams of coaching his Down Syndrome siblings in the special olympics some day is the same boy who is also dreaming of playing Division 1 sports? Who would guess the boy who blows bubbles to thrill his young siblings is the same boy who commits to hours of training in order to become the best athelete he can be? Who would guess the boy who cradles his brother and sister while they sleep is the same boy who stuffed the ball into the face of a guy who is 2 inches taller than him at last night's game? It makes me laugh.
While many parents complain about the "teenage years", I happily confess to loving this time. I am enjoying watching Caleb figure out who he is and who he wants to become. So, to Caleb, thanks for making me so very proud. I love you like something crazy!