It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Some days the “poignant” just about slays you

Noah is the sweetest guy.

Everyone thinks their baby is sweet, and of course almost everyone is right.

Nissa is a curiosity-fuelled dynamo, full of impish good humour. She’s a sweetie, all right.

Tyler has these enormous and perfectly round blue eyes, which, when he widens them at you, or crinkles them into his trademark scorcher of a grin, would melt the hardest of heart. Total sweetie, no doubt.

Tank has the amiable good humour of a Bernese (the dog, not the Swiss). He bumbles his way through his days with frequent blasts of ear-splitting glee. Another sweetie.

Emily’s enormous, amazingly round (that eye shape must be a family trait) deep brown eyes are set in the middle of a wee round face, and widen to astonishing degree when she’s telling you one of her long and instruction-heavy tales. The earnestness with which she imparts her Great Knowledge is just so sweet.

William’s love of the predicable and methodical gives a sense of little old man tucked into a scrawny four-year-old frame. It’s quite endearing and really rather sweet.

But Noah… Noah has an earnestness about him, a somberness lightened by brilliant flashes of joy, and, above all, a vulnerability. He’s the sort of kid who, not because he’s needy (he’s not), not because he’s clingy (he’s a cuddler, not a clinger), not because he’s frail… but for some reason, he’s the kind of child that makes you think, “If anyone ever hurts this child, I’ll have to rip their head off.”

Why is that? What is that?

It’s not that I don’t feel protective of each and every one of them. It’s not that they don’t all tug my heartstrings one way or another. It’s not that I don’t find them all sweet, in their own way. But, while I call them all ‘sweeties’, Noah is the only one who, for reasons I don’t fully understand, is ‘sweet’.

I think it’s because, in all the other children, I see enough aggression (a useful trait, when civilized into ‘assertion’), enough abrasiveness, enough pig-headedness that I can be reasonably confident that they’ll shrug off whatever slings and arrows life might throw at them.

Noah? Sometimes I think he’s a little too gentle a spirit, a little too open, a little too trusting to be able to do that readily. And you don’t want that to change, do you, not any of it, not one little bit. Openness, a trusting nature, a gentle spirit, they’re all good things.

But it sure does make you want to stomp all over anything that would bruise his sweetness, crush his gentleness, abuse that trust. You can’t accomplish that by protecting him, insulating him, muffling him from reality… much as that tempts. No, I’ll let him take what knocks come his way and show him he can be strong and sweet.

He’s a sweet, sweet boy, and I’ll do what I can to give him the resilience he needs to stay that way.

September 18, 2009 - Posted by | individuality, Noah | , , , ,


  1. My son’s like that. Vulnerable. Melancholic at times. It’s tough trying to walk the line between protecting them and letting them get a bit tougher.

    Oh, it is! On the one hand, you know they need to be a bit tougher in order to be happiest; on the other hand, don’t you just wish you could preserve that sweetness as is? Sigh… The world can be such a relentless place.

    Comment by Mwa | September 18, 2009 | Reply

  2. My 14 year old son is like that. Just so darned gorgeous…

    He kept’s it till 14? That’s quite something. Here’s hoping he maintains it life-long. My son had it until he was ten or so, and then I sent him off to school. It got lost along the way, which made me so sad. He’s a fine young man, but that sweetness? Gone. Sigh.

    Comment by dancingwithfrogs | September 18, 2009 | Reply

  3. Sounds just like Gavin. I always wondered how I could adore a second child the way I did my first…but with him, it’s a no-brainer. He’s simply that sweet and funny — so much that it hurts.

    With all your kids it’s a no-brainer, certainly at first. I’ve seen the pictures: he’s sure cute to look at! It’s not hard to believe the sweet is more than skin deep!

    Comment by Allison | September 19, 2009 | Reply

  4. You just described Christopher at Noah’s age, and then into preschool and elementary school. I think he’s still got that sweetness, at least at home. He’s just so damned nice, you know? I hope he keeps it through middle and high school.

    Comment by Candace | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  5. Aw, how sweet! We have a little boy like that at school– he’s just special to me. I don’t know how to explain it. 🙂

    Comment by Bethany | September 20, 2009 | Reply

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