Baxter, six-year-old Boy Wonder, there are moments in a parent's life so precious, so sweet, that we want to hold them in our memories forever. Like a photograph, except not still; more like a video clip we can turn to again and again. You don't understand this yet, of course, but I hope you are lucky enough to experience it someday.
One such moment occurred for me last week, during what could have been a mundane, forgettable trip to the ENT for a follow-up appointment. I'm not sure exactly why, but your characteristic enthusiasm, humor, and good nature were not only in full force but on over-drive.
You hopped up into the examining chair like an over-eager kangaroo, completely neglecting to remember that you were anxious about getting your ears checked. While we waited for the doctor, you studied the "pain scale" on the wall that indicated a patient's pain level from 0-10 with a series of faces that would help a child understand. Leaving me doubled over laughing, you repeatedly turned back to me to act out each facial expression all the way up the scale, completely hamming it up. (This is why God invented camera phones.) You even did it for the doctor and her intern when they came in, amusing them greatly. By the end of the appointment, it somehow came to pass that you were standing by the examining chair, pushing the buttons to move it up and down, with the cute blond medical intern sitting in it, while I spoke with the doctor.
Moments later we found ourselves in the audiology unit for your follow-up hearing test. You marched into that little sound-proof room, asked hundreds of questions about what to expect before the audiologist could even explain the procedure to you, and then plopped down in the chair and put the headphones on like a pro. You hadn't done this in two years. The woman came back to start the test, took a look at your grin through the window, and turned to me, saying, "He is adorable!"
And you are. I stopped to commit the moment to memory as best I could: you, seen through the glass, headphones on, raising your hand when you heard the beeps like it was your favorite game at your best friend's birthday party. The grin on your tanned little face was to die for. Really, is there anything that isn't high adventure for you?
On the way out of the office, you were told you could choose one sticker. You noticed some Backyardigans stickers - Lyle's favorite - so you asked the receptionist, "May I please take one home for my little brother, too?" and I thought she was going to leap over the counter and kiss your earnest face. Believe me, she doesn't see such sweet and polite children all the time. I think she was ready to give you the whole stack of stickers, just for being you.
I think that's exactly what is so special about you, and what was highlighted in that 45-minute period: you have a way of brightening the day of everyone you meet. I noticed this about you when you were a very small baby, and it's true to this day.
I can guarantee that, whether I remember that exact grin on your adorable 6-year-old face or not, I will always be able to say this about you.