In a way, she was right. The boys are all very similar. They all have the same square-shaped feet and the same solid build, the same laugh, and the same good natured disposition. Many people that know us can't tell the middle ones apart and even I confuse them when I see them from a distance, or from a new angle, or in new clothes. As they grow and change this one looks just like that one and then, just like another. In a strange sort of way, it is almost as though I've had the same child five times.
Yet, in another sense, the boys are all very different. Each one has his own learning style, his own unique talents, his own challenges. What motivates one to behave well doesn't work on the next, and the things that anger one... roll off the back of another. However much they all look alike or how similar they are in other ways, they are still very unique individuals.
Discovering their different personalities and watching them develop and interact with one another has been one the most joyful parts of parenting. I love to see the expressions of their little selves. The things they do and say that I know they did not learn from anyone else. Those things that come from deep within themselves, from their very souls, from who they are and who they were created to be.
Even the little gestures and motions they make from early on indicate their individuality. I captured a few of these classic gestures in the Christmas photo session this year and while none of these will appear in our Christmas card, these are some of my favorite shots...
Here is Nicholas doing the "eye thing." He gently touches his face near his eye and tilts his head ever so slightly when he's had enough of something. "I'm tired of having my picture taken," this picture tells me. This is how it starts. It ends with him on the floor rolling about uncooperatively. When he does the "eye thing" in church, we know we're in trouble.
Here's Zachary with his hands in his pockets like the little old man he is.