In case you haven't noticed, I tend to blog on my kids' birthdays.
Mainly because I feel nostalgic and love to celebrate them.
And then there's also the fact that I have given up baby booking/scrapbooking/videoing anything other than on my iPhone...etc., etc.
So, today's Jack's fourth birthday. Just a few months ago (read: four years ago), I wrote this about him. So full of questions about how this little guy would fit into the land of girls. Little did we know, right?
He burst into this family as a happy baby. Easily pacified, easily entertained, always being held, comforted, cared for by his sisters. He fit perfectly as the man amongst the women. Jack loves the attention his sisters give him, and play Barbies willingly, as long as Batman is a main character, and Barbie uses the potty. Lots.
Just one year ago, we were done. Jack was it. He was the baby, and we thought that was that.
With the birth of the twins, he went from the baby to the middle in a four minute span. But before that four minute change, I was nervous. I was nervous for many, many reasons, but at the forefront was concern for my little man.
How would he handle having not one but two new babies around when he was the one friends and family called "Baby Jack?"
Plus, last summer, he was at his peak of toddler naughtiness. When asked his name, he'd tell everyone, "Jackson Richard Webel," as he heard his three names. A lot.
However, my worries were put to rest. He has thrived at becoming a big brother, and the middle man in our kid line with amazing resilience. The babies are his biggest fans, and he's enjoying being the main attraction.
And now my little man is four. Almost a whole hand, as Amelia reminded me today.
Four years ago, we were worried about how he would fit in. We were concerned about how having a boy would create a different dynamic on the farm. We were excited with the possibility of another cattleman coming into the family.
Although our life has definitely changed in the past four years, especially the last four months, Jack's life as a farm boy has not changed too much. He still does chores with the show calves with his dad. He still rides in the semi with my dad, hauling grain. I think, too, my uncle has a soft spot for him, and would take him with at any time.
Jack's spunk, slight orneriness, and sunshine make up for the constant questions he fires at us at an exhausting rate. No less than nine thousand questions about crops and cows are asked on our way to preschool. However, the question that comes up about once every couple of days that breaks my heart is, "Mom, is Dad still a farmer?"
Answering that questions with a, "Yes, he is, just a farmer of young minds and show calves," is a little tricky. In my time in agriculture, I have come to realize that the name "farmer" is not a one size fits all term. I once wrote a post about how hobby farmers aren't really farmers. That's not necessarily true, just a picture painted with a different brush. Now that we're in flux with our relationship with farming, I still feel like we're farmers, just a different type of crop. We're grooming agriculturalists. My landscape fence still includes soybeans or corn (depending on the crop rotation), there's still anhydrous tanks in my driveway, and I consider Jack a farm boy, through and through. He can identify equipment, animals, crops, you name it. Just maybe not from the cab of a tractor sitting next to his dad.
Jack's sweet demeanor has helped me work through this time. In his four years, he has developed this personality that is ornery and sweet nearly simultaneously. Is that being a boy? Currently, he's trying to "scare me to death" with his new Batman robot, but in a few minutes, he'll tell me how beautiful I look (Is that not Joe Webel's son or what?? Always working the ladies...). This light has kept a lot of laughter in this house when it could get a little tense.
He truly has held his own during our crazy time of transition. Jack brings such light and life to us, I hardly have the energy for it some days, and others, I just want to bottle it up and save it. And those questions...I should be so thankful to hear that little voice from way in the back of the vehicle. I should record his sweet voice announcing the comings and goings of the world around him. We should all be more aware and in tune of our surroundings, right?
Thank you, Jack, for coming into our lives and holding your own with this crazy crew. We love you and can only wonder at what the next four, fourteen, forty years will bring for you.
Happiest of birthdays to you, Little Man.