One of my friends kindly asked me about Josh, and I realized I've never written much about who he was.
It was 27 years ago this month that I learned that I was pregnant with twins. We'd just moved into this house, the Quiet Husband worked for Big Oil, I had recently left Big Railroad law department for a very small nonprofit (which was soon to fold), and we had joined a big United Methodist church, where we knew almost no one. (So many big places ~ what was that about?)
The boys were born at the end of the summer, at 40-plus weeks of pregnancy. I had a mirror for the c-section that followed many hours of labor, and my first sight of Josh was of his head being lifted from my belly. (My first view of his brother was of his tiny white rear, still inside.) In one of our first pictures, of me in the recovery room with a baby in either arm, their personalities are evident: Josh is peacefully asleep, oblivious to the excitement and happiness surrounding him, and Matt is wide-eyed and alert, looking as if he thinks he has landed in the midst of a major disaster.
As a little fellow, Josh was a blend of that laid-back baby and a growing whirlwind of energy and concentrated determination. Blue eyes, white-blond hair, and a belly of joyful laughter.
He was the adventurous one ~ he started kindergarten a semester before his brother and camp a summer earlier; he was the first soccer player of the three kids. The first to climb stairs, the first to swim in deep water, the first off a diving board.
He loved to do art; he loved to build things (a heap of hangars and blocks in the library was a machine for communicating with the stars; a 2x4 with miscellaneous odds and ends nailed to it was an electronic dinosaur.) He loved white-water rafting and tubing and camping and hiking in the mountains. He loved the beach at St. Augustine and he loved Washington, D.C. He loved to make pottery and he loved to hang out with his best friend, Ben. He loved stories, and although he didn't really become a reader himself until fourth grade, the next year he read the entire Narnia series. He loved his box turtle, Sunfan, and he loved our kitty, Kitty.
We enjoyed a pretty simple and ordinary suburban life, in a city in which funky stores and restaurants and the library and little kid playgrounds are all within walking distance. Our children all went to a Montessori preschool and then moved on to another Montessori school for elementary and middle school, they all played soccer, and they all went to camp in North Carolina.
We became part of a group of young families at our Methodist church and we all spent a lot of time together -- with no parents in town, we became one another's extended family. As the moms had second and third children and left employment, we began to get together every week, and we spent many long summer days out at a small lake, kids running all over the place and moms relaxing among coolers and beach towels.
I really do believe that Josh, like his brother and sister, had one of the best childhoods ever.