This last week my third son, the Engineer, turned twelve. It is hard to believe that my little boys aren’t so little anymore. Standing at 5’4″, he is on his way to being the tallest of all of my sons. I thought I would devote this week’s Saturday Stories to him.
The reason I call him the Engineer stems from his love of building. From the time he was old enough to place one block on top of another, he has been putting things together. With four sons to compare, the fact that he could put together a 25 piece jigsaw puzzle when he was two seemed a little extraordinary. He likes to watch online videos on origami. All he has to do is see them once and he remembers how to make all sorts of things like tanks, boxes or animals. When I cannot find him on weekend afternoons, he will be in his room making forts, castles or spaceships out of legos, Lincoln logs or K’nex like this one.
As you can see, the Engineer has always had the most beautiful smile. He is the only of my five children who won’t need braces or any kind of orthodontic work. When he was five, there was an older lady at church who used to come up to him each Sunday and rub his cheeks and say, “As smooth as butter.” It got so that he would see that gal coming and take off the other way. He hated it! He has never been one for physical affection. When all of my other kids will throw their arms around me and give me a hug, the Engineer will shyly tap me on the the shoulder and mumble, “love you, Mom.”
When he was a baby, the Engineer’s feet turned in a bit. I asked three different orthopedic surgeons if he needed some kind of corrective measurements to be taken. Two of them told me that all of the best athletes are somewhat pigeon toed. He used to trip over his own feet all of the time when he was a little boy. He has always loved sports, though. Because my second son was seriously injured playing tackle football when he was twelve, I am making the boys wait until high school to play again. The Engineer just cannot wait. In the meantime, he roller blades, plays neighborhood football, bike rides and plays basketball.
The Engineer had trouble learning to speak. He went to a speech related preschool for two years and then went to “speech” for 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade. He is painfully quiet still. When I talked to him about it once, he told me that kids teased him so much when he was younger that it was just easier not to speak much. When he does start to talk, though, he is hilarious. He has a very quick wit and often keeps the grown ups in stitches. He is a perfect example of the saying, “Still waters run deep.” There is so much going on in his mind, but it takes a lot of effort to get him to open up.
This is a photo of the Engineer and the Comedian. They are 10 weeks apart in age and they are first cousins by birth. I didn’t tell them about that extra relationship until they were about ten. I didn’t want to confuse them. They both thought it was pretty cool to be brothers and cousins. This last summer, they finally started making friends and doing things without each other. It was mostly the Engineer who made the break. It was so freeing for him to finally stand on his own. I think that all of the behavioral problems of the Comedian’s have been a burden to the Engineer. We had to put the Comedian back a grade this year and when I told the other children about our decision, the first thing the Engineer said was, “Do I have to go back, too, to take care of him?” It just about broke my heart to think of how much of a burden he had put on himself to take care of his younger brother. He is such a good boy.