Earlier this week our family was eating dinner out and our server was a handsome young Hispanic man with a Spanish accent. As he walked away from our table, Nils said what all of us were thinking. “I can’t wait for them to come.” We all knew what he was talking about.
My heart swelled at the comment, especially coming from Nils. His world will be rocked most of all by the arrival of his new brothers. He knows this is true. And yet, he can’t wait.
Before we said yes to adoption we needed to know Nils was all in. 100%. We did more talking and more praying with him than with anyone else. Nils will go from being the youngest son and the last kid at home, to being middle, and a triplet of sorts. Nils, Felipe and Jimmy. Three peas in a pod. Separated by seventeen months, ten pounds, and three inches.
It’s hard to say with which of his new brothers Nils will have the most in common. Felipe likes math and science, and so does Nils. Both are artistic. Felipe shows us his drawings when we skype. Pencil drawings of landscapes and scenery. Nils digs out a few of his own favorites. Colored illustrations of professional athletes. When Nils was younger he spent hours at the kitchen table drawing pictures of sports figures with amazing accuracy.
Jimmy, like Nils, is a sports nut. He wants to play soccer, basketball, and baseball–just like Nils. Also like Nils, Jimmy is out-going and social. A people person. I imagine Nils and Jimmy will have a blast together.
Nils is the perfect kid to welcome two new brothers. Out of the five of us he’s the truest extrovert. Our people magnet, known for his ever-present smile. Nils loves people, and people love Nils. It’s not uncommon for me to meet someone for the first time, and when I tell them who my kids are, they break into a big grin and say, “Oh! You’re Nils’ mom!”
A couple of years ago, when Nils was in junior high, we gave him some advice. Instead of using your people-gift for your own gain, use it to bless others. Instead of pursuing popularity, pursue kindness.
He took the lesson to heart, and I’m so glad. At school and at church Nils is quick to welcome the new kid, and quick to reach out to the underdog. He’s slow to seek the limelight and doesn’t clamber for attention. He tends to avoid the habit of many 15-year-old boys of making much of themselves. Nils works harder at knowing people than being known.
Nils can hardly wait to introduce Felipe and Jimmy to his friends at school. He’s hoping Felipe will be in some of his classes. He’s hoping Jimmy will be on some of his teams. All the kids at Legacy know about the new brothers who are coming, and they’re excited, too.
But this week Nils will go back to school alone. The only Anderson boy at Legacy. It’s strange for him, and strange for us. Nils has always been at school with older brothers, and he’s looking forward to one day being at school with younger brothers. But for now, it’s just Nils. And in a way I think this might be an important season for him. A special time for Nils to be Nils, and not somebody’s brother. Time for just a little bit of limelight.