Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Isaac

He's not just any little brother. For one thing, he's mine.
For another thing, he is completely unusual.
Every day I take into consideration that he's completely boy, that he's six-years-old, and that he's gone through an unusually long Idahoan winter - hence the extra hyperness. However, no matter how much I try to make myself think that he is typical, the more I decide that he's not.
Monday morning, for instance, I gather my books to teach my little brothers. I happen to have five younger brothers whom I teach every day, but I always teach Isaac first because he has the ability like no one else to tire me out before my thirty-minute session is over. I'd rather that he tires me out before the afternoon hits and I feel inclined to take a nap.
He's learning to read, so I turn to the lesson we're on and we begin, always in high spirits. He begins reading his list of words, cats, vans, hogs, jams, rags, sits, until he pauses at the word fits. He squints his bright eyes in typical Isaac fashion and looks up at me. "Uh? What's that first letter again?"
I laugh. Surely he remembers the letter f. "You know this one, Isaac, just think about it for a minute."
We sit together in silence. After a minute, he reaches over and grabs my hand, gazing up into my face. "Has it been a minute, yet?"
"Yes," I smiled, "what's the letter?"
"Uh - r?"
"No," I shake my head, resigning myself to a long, difficult morning, "try again."
"No," he exclaims, shutting the book with emphasis, "I'm never doing school again."
His face is contorted into the most comical mix of frustration, impatience, and emotions I generally call "Isaacness." He glances at me from the corner of his eye, with his arms folded, and I know he is waiting for me to tell him what the answer is. This is the principle difference I deal with every day between Isaac and his seven-year-old elder brother. Micah is the epitome of a patient child, but when thoroughly provoked, will cry. He never yells, screams, throws his books, or announces that he's "never doing school again".
"Isaac, we can't get upset so quickly, dear. Try again." I try with my hands. "It's like - like a - what's this, Isaac?" I purse my lips together in a fish-kiss and make gurgling sounds, waving my arms as if I was swimming.
"A bird?" guesses my brilliant, prize student.
I groan. "No - it's - it's a fish, Isaac. Now, I'm not telling you anything else this morning."
His eyes light up. "F! It's f!"
My home is always filled with some kind of noise. With five younger brothers and three younger sisters, you can't really expect the most serene of a home. Music floats in and out of the house, though sometimes it sounds like it's storming in and out of the house (i.e. Bethany's piano practice, Rachel's penny whistle, Stephen's guitar, and who knows what else). The stairs are a constant source of racket, with feet pattering up and down the stairs many times simultaneously. And the voices. If wish I could say that all the voices we hear are melodious, encouraging; sisterly and brotherly. However...that's another story. Isaac's voice is, perhaps, the most prominent of all the voices, given the fact that he boasts a high, extremely audible voice that met every one's ears with gusto upon emerging from his mother's womb, and, I'll add, continues to meet our ears in the same way with the rising of every morning's sun and the setting of the same. I was the only child in our home that incessantly sang during her childhood until Isaac, who now delights me with his tenor voice, sweetly proclaiming the glories of childhood and innocence to the praise of our Heavenly Father.
That's a terrific speech, until tomorrow morning. I'll be enjoying my early morning beauty sleep, unconscious to the world, when in will hop Isaac. He'll bounce all over my bed, crying,"Wake up, Sarah! It's time to get up!" (Before my alarm clock has even had a chance to wake me, I'll interject.) If I don't cooperate absolutely immediately with his request, he'll start singing, "Sleepyhead! Sleepyhead! The sun is out and it's time..." or "Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory, rise and shine..."
Rats. I'll roll over and have to get up because I can't go back to sleep.
But then there are other times when my heart is simply captured by his whit, by his animation, his brilliant art, his fiery determination to conquer the world, or simply by his gentle heart. I'll never forget what he told me a few weeks ago, "Sarah, you're my best friend. Don't make me cry." I had just scolded him for pulling some of my books off their neat place on my shelf. Needless to say, I bit my tongue in regret and determined never to scold again.
I see in my darling little brother, running around the house with almost irrepressible energy, the fire and innovation of a fourteen-year-old, studying with all of his might and creating new things and beautiful art with his hands. I squint my eyes, like he does at times, and look into the future to see him as a tall, daring gentleman with the action conquer engraved on his very soul. I can see him loving, laughing, and serving the women in his life with a heart of gold and being a leader, not a follower, among his revolutionary, reformation-minded friends. I think I can see us, together, best friends still, with a deeper and greater relationship than before.
So when I see all the creativity ever given to a child expressed in Isaac, I must hold my tongue. I will stand in awe at the Creator of the universe, in giving my world such a bright light in it - even if it means my delightfully, irrevocable unusual little brother. I wouldn't change him for the world.
But to finish my story.
He had the f sound thoroughly engraved in his mind before I dared to open the phonics book again. I finally did, and we turned back to the page we were at.
"Go ahead and read that line of words again, Isaac," I said, pointing to the familiar string of words.
"Cats, vans, hogs, jams, rags, sits - uh?" He looks up at me with a questioning look again.
My heart groans, but I hang on. He has to know this. We just went over it fifty times.
He squints his eyes. "Um, is it d?"
Life goes on. I know it does.

1 comment:

Leah said...

I laughed and laughed, as this discription described Isaac perfectly! ;) (Brings back memories.. hehe ;D) It is amazing to think that our little brothers will no longer be little one of these days... they will be young men before we know it - and most likely towering over us. =) Most of all, may they have a strong & abiding walk with Lord and follow Him with every step!