Cason (aka CasDawg) – Cason has been busy this year. In addition to thriving in a challenging new academic program, he has gotten his Bear award in Cub Scouts, won the Pinewood Derby, beat out 9 other candidates to win his school’s Spirit Leader position and helped his basketball, swim and flag football teams be successful. Oh, and the boy has ploughed through more books than you would think humanly possible. Cason has really enjoyed youth fantasy books. In particular, he’s devoured the Percy Jackson series, plus 2 two more series by the same author and is finishing up the Harry Potter series now. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that he has gotten football fever something awful. He LOVES watching college football as well as playing backyard football and football video games. He has become a student of the game and can answer any question about the Clemson or BYU team.
Abram (aka Bumbum) – 2013 was a big year for Abram. He turned 8 and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in November. Although we are used to Abram’s excitable nature, Luder was blown away by Abram’s heartfelt exclamation right after the baptism “That was AWESOME!!” complete with fist pump. How can you not love this kid? Like his brother, Abram has kept the librarians busy this year. After some reluctance at the beginning of the year, his love for superheros combined with some strategically placed comic books led to a literary explosion. Abram’s reading level has gone off the charts. He has been very interested in the Magic Treehouse series, Marvel superheroes, as well as Greek and Egyptian mythology. Abram’s renewed focus on academics and growing maturity has really impressed his parents. He also won several races for his swim team, made strides in basketball/flag football and loves Cub Scouts. Oh, and ask him about his post-tonsillectomy conversation with Abraham Lincoln when you get a chance – it’s worth it.
Declan (aka Destructo) – Declan is the spunkiest kid you’ll meet. He is scary-smart and 1,000% boy. The only things he likes better than running/laughing/shouting/playing are his mom and his baby brother. He tells everyone that Silas is his best friend and he balks at any suggestion that they be separated. Declan’s mispronunciation of Silas came out “Wis” – which is what led to his baby brother’s aka below. Declan started a new year of preschool and really enjoys the social aspects of his classes. He loves to learn. Anyone who was at early Thanksgiving dinner in Fredericksburg heard his enthusiastic rendering of the Thanksgiving songs he learned there. Declan loves his primary teacher at church and looks forward to going each week. He also had a trial soccer practice at an indoor facility in Richmond so will be starting his much anticipated soccer career shortly, which is very exciting. Declan loves playing out back with his brothers, dressing up in super hero costumes and riding his tractor.
Silas (aka The Mighty Wis) – Silas is just a bunch of fun. His chubby cheeks bounce when he runs, his big smile make everyone laugh and we all stop and listen when he is trying new words, which is just about every day now. He has adapted well to nursery at church, and by that I mean he has suckered the nursery leaders into holding him. He’s going through the clingy stage, which is always tough but at least Ginny knows she’s loved. He loves balls – when he says “Tetch!” you’d better be ready – and cars. He doesn’t like being alone. He’ll often get caught up in his playing, realize he’s the only one in the room, and then go searching for his brothers. He’ll do anything Declan asks and – sometimes unfortunately – quickly mimics what he does too.
Fidesco (aka ‘Desco) -is still very much a part of our lives even though he moved to Louisville KY Oct 27. While he was here, he swam on swim team, played basketball and football, went to Boy Scout Camp and earned his Tenderfoot award. He continues to go to church and Scouts in KY. He goes to an all boys school there. He is coming “home” (his words) for the holiday to be with us in RVA. We miss him dearly.
Ginny (aka Boss Lady) – Ginny has been her standard Wonder Woman self this year. She volunteers at church including leading frequent activities for a large group of very active 8-11 year old girls. She is always feeding/cleaning/comforting/encouraging four little boys who adore her, performing random acts of kindness as often as she can and doing all this without sacrificing her famous smile, fashionista style or supermodel appearance. And that’s just the stuff we know about. One of the fun firsts this year is that Ginny made an excellent Thanksgiving feast for our family. Ginny realized a few weeks ago that she had children in soccer, basketball, music lessons, swim team, SCA and scouts, all in the past year. She is really happy about Luder’s switch to Capital One. Really happy.
Luder (aka Big Poppa) – Luder’s big change this year has been embracing life after the law firm. Although he’s still adjusting to the new schedule, it’s fun to watch him take a vacation day and try not to twitch the whole time. Luder has also rededicated himself to learning more. He wants to attack the classics and has read several books that he’s not been able to finish in past years. So far he’s read Oliver Twist, The Art of War, Common Sense and several others. He’s hoping to knock a few more out before the end of the year.
Overall, 2013 had its share of challenges and trials but we feel like we’ve done a better job at keeping a Christ-centered perspective than in years past. We’ll take that as a huge accomplishment. We are very grateful for our faith, friends and family in good and in bad times. We are honored to know you and pray that you will be able to focus on the Reason for the Season throughout this Christmastime and on into the new year.
I once heard the quote, "Friendships are born and friendships die." I tend to agree with part of that idea. I believe that true friendship lives on, it lives through death and it lives over thousands of miles of distance and passing years of inattentiveness. The friendships that die are the ones that taught us for a time and allowed us to move on to something better.
At the beginning of this month I lost a dear friend. Our friendship will live on and when I see him again, I have a few things to tell him. I will share with him that his life and passing has changed me. I hadn't thought of how much he meant to me, until he passed. I now focus more on being in the moment with my children. I think of everyone that I am around as truly a brother or a sister. I have wondered a hundred times why it takes the death of someone we love to soften us to the core and be who we truly should be?
As the month progressed, I learned that this sweet child pictured above, who is like a son to me will be moving far away. Tonight I saw the bus ticket, yesterday I saw the sofa being loaded onto the truck.
Fidesco was a six year old tag along nephew to a young woman that I served six years ago. She moved away and he has been with us the majority of the time since. We have grown so close that my children call him their brother. I know what he likes to eat, wear, what embarrasses him. I know when he is having a bad day before he speaks. I know how he sleeps, what scares him and what makes him smile.
I have worried about him physically, spiritually and academically for the better part of six years. I was blessed to know when he was in trouble or afraid without anyone telling me when he wasn't with us. I have prayed for him and hoped for his future and none of that will stop now, even though he will be far from me for a time.
I have learned so much from serving him and inviting him to be so intimately involved in our family. Most of the lessons are too personal to share here but let's just say that I could write a book.
The biggest lesson I have learned is that we love who we serve and by doing so we are blessed. I am blessed to have been loved by this child. My children were blessed to have an education in culture and love that reaches over socioeconomic and racial boundaries. They were blessed to learn acceptance and unconditional love and in return they were loved and truly experienced joy.
We will keep in contact with him and I will not give up on the dreams I have for him. We will see what happens but I trust the Lord and I know He has a plan for Fidesco and for our family and for now that's what is giving me peace.