Happy Birthday Elisha

July 24, 2013 in Inspiration

Phuket, Thailand

Today is Elisha’s 13th birthday.

Of all of my children, Elisha has been the “easiest.”

He’s a mellow soul, just like his Daddy. From his first day of life he’s been happy to go with the flow. When he was about six days old I found him missing from his little pillow seat. When I found him, he was tucked under 4 year old Benjamin’s armpit like a foot ball being carted down the hall way to the boys room, “to play.” I was hyperventilating a bit, rescuing the fragile baby from the rough and tumble toddler’s best intentions, Elisha was happy to be the football.

When he was about 18 months old he figured out how to lift the mattress on the bottom of his playpen, pull up the locking mechanism and throw his weight against the side to collapse the cage and release himself. He’s smart like that, a problem solver.

For years I drove myself crazy parenting him, I must have said ten million times, “Elisha, pay attention!!” And then, one day, I woke up and realized something very profound: He was paying attention, just not to what I was paying attention to. Elisha pays attention to everything. Every single thing. He misses nothing. He sees things no one else does. He has no interest in what everyone else is seeing because he sees so much more. When I finally figured that out, I simply asked him, occasionally, to, “Please pay attention to what everyone else is paying attention to!” (You know, like traffic, not getting lost, the project we’re working on, or the chores at hand!) and he was happy to lower himself to the realm of mere mortals to get the job done. Of course he was still seeing fifty things I missed. He told me all about them later. He still does.

And then, like the slow learner I am, I drove myself crazy reminding him to hold his pencil, “properly, in the other hand,” until one day I wondered what would happen if I just kept my mouth shut and let him do it his way: 100% handwriting improvement instantly: He’s left handed!

Because he’s quiet, we thought he might end up being the “shy” one. Nothing could be further from the truth. Elisha might just be the most social one of the bunch. He makes friends everywhere. He’ll sit back a few minutes, survey the crowd and then make a bee line for the person he finds most interesting. He has a real gift with little children, because he can see it their way, and he gets down low to look through their eyes. He’s the kid who, at nine, would hop off of the boat in Guatemala and holler, “I’ll run ahead and sort out the chicken bus, Mom!” and he would, a whole kilometer ahead and by the time we got there he had us on the right bus, ready to go. He’s the one that always sat up front with the driver and chatted away in Spanish, sharing his chips with the amused and amazed guy.

He reads adventure stories. He builds fantastic things with lego. He likes to strike off alone in a new place and come back with long lists of everything he discovered. He thinks he’d like to be a chef. He loves, and I mean LOVES working in the pizza restaurant his grandparents have in Indiana. He’s got his grandfather’s gift for conversation. He’s the guy who volunteers first if I have an errand that needs running. He’s the guy that isn’t afraid to head straight for a new skate park or playground and make some friends. He’s also the one who talks the most about the people he misses and often wishes that he could share his big adventures with the people he most loves. He’s kind. He’s compassionate. He smiles a lot.

Here are a few pictures of my boy, as we celebrate the gift of his life today:

Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Diving in, Belize

Art, Vietnam

Night bus... Asia somewhere

Martha's Vineyard, USA



Reaction to his first MRE- Ft. Leonard-Wood Missouri


Elisha Hadrians Wall, UK

12th birthday- Hanoi

12th birthday shirt, Hanoi

Traveling buddies- Malaysia

Mud monkeys, NH


Tidal Bore Rafting- Bay of Fundy, Canada

Xel-Ha, Mexico

With his cello- NH


With Uncle Josh- Wolfe Island

Amigos, NH