I brag a lot about how awesome my kids are, and frankly, it’s because they are. Let me shed a little light on this guy right here. He’s my little man. My Gabe.
A third child, he’s our baby. Beth and I always had names ready for our first two kids – one male, one female. Always. We were still in high school, and Jake and Liv were already card-carrying name owners. Gabe; not so much. We debated back and forth on what to call him. I wanted something cool like Walmart Elvis Whitehouse. We could call him Wally! Beth said no. Maybe something biblical: First Corinthians? Nebuchadnezzar? How awesome would little Nebby Whitehouse be? Apparently, not awesome enough. We were back and forth between Gabriel Joseph and Benjamin Ryan when we heard a woman speak of her teenage son, Benji. That was the clincher. Gabriel Joseph was born on a cold, clear December day in 2005. He weighed in at 8 lbs, 13 oz, which for us was like having a kid and a half. Our others were mid 6 lb range.
Gabe hated me almost instantly. He loved his Mom, and tolerated me for the first year. Screamed every time I picked him up. He had figured out reading by the time he had figured out toddling. I remember him pulling himself up to stand – calling out the numbers and letters of a nearby license plate, then plopping back onto his butt. Where Olivia excelled in social situations: playing house, dolls, Barbies, etc.; Gabe rocked the reading/writing. He’s always been very cerebral. He’s like me that way. Where we differ is that he’s awesome at athletic stuff, too. He’s always been a risk-taker, and he finally just grew into it. I remember Jake being in bed with us one pitch black night. We heard the bedroom door creak open, three sleeper-suited footsteps, then a fall. Jake, not especially verbal back then, (and in total darkness mind you) said, “Gabe?” Gabe was known for falling down. My father had bets against him seeing his fifth birthday. But now he’s seven, and can run and jump and do cartwheels and front handsprings with the best of them. Remember, he was just a wee lad when I filmed this two years ago:
Gabe’s that kid who gets his spelling words for the week on Monday, and by the time he’s got them copied down for his study sheet – he’s got them learned. It’s just a matter of semantics when we “practice” them all week. He reads well above his age/grade level, and intuits how unfamiliar words are pronounced. I think the book-learnin’ people call it ‘decoding’. He’s just that good.
His innocence and eagerness to please amaze me. For the most part, he’s a perfect little rule follower. He was the first one in his class to achieve the highest level of obedience on the scale of excellent-to-detention in first grade. He never said a word in school those first few months, because we had told him not to talk in class. We were remarking the other day about how our babysitter does dishes when she works for us. She told the kids that that was just good babysitting. I said she must have been raised right. Gabe asked, with all sincerity, if he’d been raised right. I told him we were working on it, but that it was a work in progress.
Anyway, just a shout out to my awesome kid, Gabe. I love that guy.