Ben, LJ, and I snuggled on the couch together. Tickling and giggling. I thought over the last few weeks and the amount of personality that has surfaced. For as much inward battle that he faces, LJ is an extrovert. He is so much like his daddy. He loves people and would give the shirt off his back if someone asked for it. We were at dinner the other night and as we wove through the crowd toward the bathroom, he stopped several times along the way - "Hi, my name is L_____ Jeremiah Pinchback, what is your name?", "Are you a real waiter?" and, my personal favorite, "Hi! I really like your baby."
LJ has always been quite outgoing when he's on the playground, but in the last few weeks we've noticed that his passion for people extends past his height.
Lately, every store cashier and waitress gets introduced to Ty by his brother. LJ always uses his full name and introduces Ty as "Tyrus." He gets big fan fair from his subjects and Ben always follows up with, "He's planning to run for mayor."
Tonight, my aunt and uncle stopped by to say hello and the boys were eating some crackers at the table. My uncle, jokingly, said, "Will you share one with me?" without a flinch of consideration, LJ got up from the table and took his second to last cracker and gave it to my unlce. He went back to his bowl for the last one and gave it to my aunt (she hadn't asked for one).
That's my boy's heart.
He's such a lover...such a giver.
While the three of us sat on the couch, I thought through his character traits and how much they've developed. LJ is so much like Ben, it's striking. They both speak the same love languages (touch and words of affirmation), they share the same humor, and their faithful, friendly demeanor invites others to come a little closer.
Apart from the same squishy nose, mine and LJ's sameness comes in worship. LJ is deeply affected by music and has an acute sensitivity to the Spirit of God. Whether the music is on or not, he sings his heart out in the backseat of the car. It's one of my favorite things about him.
Our moment got a little crazy as the boys (Ben and LJ) started rough-housing on the couch and LJ got a nail to the forehead. The scratch was non-existent, but LJ asked if he could run to the freezer for our boo-boo frog. The request was silly and unneeded, but it brought tears to my eyes because it's exactly what Ty would have done. Ty is crazy particular about everything. Any sort of bump or brush sends him to the freezer for the frog. I couldn't recall a time where LJ ever needed or asked for it.
He, delicately, placed the frog on his forehead and laid, quietly, on the rug while his "injury" healed.
I thanked God for beautiful redemption. I've been taught it my whole life and hear stories of the role it plays in others' lives, but, in that moment, I experienced the knowing for myself.
God redeemed the life of my beautiful boy.
His eyes are bright, his smile genuine, and his hope for the future secure.
What a difference one year makes.
How, on earth, could we not want to do this again?