Happy Birthday Matthew!Calvin!Stark!

Twenty years ago today, our family of three became a family of four with the arrival of Matthew Calvin. I will never forget several things about that day:

  • We had no way to get to the hospital, as our only car had broken down on the way back from Chicago the night before. We had to call a friend to get a ride!
  • We were in the middle of an intense heat wave, in fact one of the worst in Chicago’s history. Our starter home with no basement also had no AC. We bought several fans on the way home from the hospital, fans and a kiddie pool our only strategies for hoping to stay cool while blanketed with a newborn baby.
  • Timothy, who still seemed little at 20 months old, was suddenly HUGE when Chris brought him in the hospital room to meet his baby brother.

It’s interesting to me that Matthew was a very quiet, content baby who slept a lot. He smiled a lot, he ate a lot. I have several awesome pictures of him asleep in his highchair, face covered in whatever he’d been enjoying only moments before. He didn’t speak much, instead pointed at things and yet somehow communicated things his brother faithfully verbalized for him. Then, at the age of 3 he took off running with his words and hasn’t stopped since.

I like to think that those early quiet years were one of observation, taking things in, letting what is in him grow until he was ready to speak it. When he did, it was so uniquely him. I loved listening to his sweet prayers at bedtime, there was nothing he didn’t talk to Jesus about in great detail or with great passion. And watching him run around our family room singing the “Tarzan” songs at the top of his lungs is a picture that is engraved in my mind. Along with the picture of him snuggling into his dad’s arms while watching the same movie whenever Kerchak was on the screen in all his scary gorilla-ness.

Matt's snapshots_0010                    IMG_2506

Fast forward several years, and the same mix of wildness and passion alongside tenderness and sensitivity are still evident. There is the Matthew who is living in the wilds of Alaska for the summer, seizing every opportunity to explore and test his limits, and then there is the Matthew who stops to ponder the beauty of numerous wild plants and flowers and creatures all around him, who cradles his newborn niece while she sleeps, who sends his sister silly snapchats because he loves and misses her.

So happy birthday, Matthew. I love you and am so incredibly grateful for all of who you are, and the goodness it brings to our family.

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