Drummer boy

This boy of mine.   Humorist.  Thinker.  Artist.   Cheerful soul.

Drummer.

Of all my ten children he is perhaps the mellowest.  He enjoys life to the hilt.  Has a lightning wit and a quick laugh.  Gets along well with both the older and the younger ones.   Takes bumps in stride. Is content– no, is purely happy– with what he gets.

Sometimes in the whirl of busy life, amid the swirl of many childrens’ emotions, I worry that his needs might get lost in the shuffle, just by virtue of his ability to be content.  I fear that he’ll someday look back at his childhood and remember me as preoccupied instead of fully present.  But each time I check in with him, he truly seems to be thriving in his place in life.   He’s 15, the youngest child born from me.  He was 4 when we brought our first adopted child home.  He became an older brother 5 more times in the next  8 years, and accepted it all with grace, welcoming each younger sibling ungrudgingly.

Perhaps the only thing he really steadily wanted was a drum set. He didn’t ask for it. But I knew he wanted it, simply by the way he’d drum on everything in sight.  I held off for years, partly because the $300+ cost was triple what we usually spend on our kids each Christmas, and partly because kids are famous for longing for things til they get them, and then losing interest.   The drum set was always on my mind.   But each Christmas for years he would get something else.  And yet for years he would continue to walk around the house, drumming intricate rhythms with his hands and feet.  Happily setting life to a beat of his own.

Finally, finally, two Christmases ago I did what I’d been wanting to do for a long time.  Hang the cost.  The boy needed a drum set, and that year he got it.

Th expression on his face that Christmas morning.  It was pure bliss. Pure incredulous joy.  Loud driving happiness floating down the stairs to the kitchen every time the boy would so much as walk past his shiny Christmas extravagance.

Never have I shopped so well, or been so happy with money spent.

Now, more than a year later, it is rare for half a day to go by without the noise of drums in our home.   He analyzes drum beats on the radio, totes drums to church weekly to share in worship, practices loud and quiet, fast and slow and in between.

Just the other day, his older brother and I were listening to the enthusiastic rhythms wafting down the stairs.   We looked at each other and grinned.  “Best Christmas present ever, huh?”  he said to me with a grin.  I agreed.

I may not get everything in his life right.  But that drum set in a way is a pact between my 15 year old and me.  It’s not about the money, or the relative extravagance of the gift.   It’s about seeing his heart, and letting him know I see it.   Giving him his heart’s desire.

Even though he didn’t even ask.

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  1. He is like my nearly-15-y/o! Elliot’s been drumming on everything in sight for years and years. Like you, we cannot afford a drum set–especially since they’re twice the price over here. But we’re actually actively trying ot get him one, because he’s a natural drummer. He didn’t get a Christmas present this year actually, in hope that we’ll manage to get one soon!

  2. I was a band nerd in high school and always loved the personalities of the guys on drum line. Exactly like you described your son! In fact, I can often pick out grown up drummer boys by their personality, even in the adult world- friendly, laid back, and content.

    I just finished your book, by the way, and LOVED it! What wonderful encouragement for us Mammas of growing, soon to be large, families Thank you!

  3. Oh how sweet. Such a wise momma. I love the drummers I know.

    And definitely put the movie _Mr. Holland’s Opus_ on your must-see list. The drummer in that movie is a heartbreaker.

    We got a guitar for youngest son. He’s making it his life’s work…. a music degree and teacher.

  4. Yay. I love that boy!

  5. Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! Beautiful!

  6. He is truly a wonderful boy. His gentle drum beats in church, the joy on his face as he shares his talent with God is priceless…..you are so blessed!

  7. I have a few that are so UNdemanding that it worries me they get lost in the shuffle, too. WTG at identifying how to let your boy know you see his heart and are there to cheer him on! He is absolutely adorable!

  8. I feel so warm and fuzzy after reading your post! There’s nothing better than watching your child’s face light up with pure joy!

  9. Bettina says:

    Our 15 year old sons sound like they could be twins, right down to the curly hair. My son is constantly drumming on anything in front of him. He is very laid back, and I, too, worry that I don’t pay enough attention to him. He just doesn’t require much and seems content just to “be”. He cracked me up the other day when he asked me “How old are you and Dad gonna be when you move in with me?” He said that he could take better care of us if we live with him when we get old. How many 15 year old boys think that way? I think the world needs more teenagers like our two.

  10. I love giving kids things they want but don’t ask for. (I wish there was a way to explain this to some of my more demanding kids!)

  11. Wow! He sounds like a real gem. Keep up the good work, God and mom! 🙂

  12. Jennifer says:

    What a sweet post! Thanks for sharing!

  13. He’s a rare one, that boy-soon-to-be-man. And how strength-giving to him that he is so valued by his mother. He will always cherish this post.

  14. Ahhh! Now that is mothering at its finest!