Sunday, November 8, 2015

Roosevelt and Junction

In honor of Ro's second birthday, I thought I'd share the story behind his name.  It is derived from an experience Wyatt had when was 19-years-old and served a mission for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Here is the story in Wyatt's words:

Wyatt as a missionary in New York City

I started my two-year mission in September of 1997.  After two-months of Spanish language training at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, I was flown to the New York New York South Mission.  I remember the excitement of the very early morning travel to the airport and the flight to New York City. It was a clear day as we descended and the circuitry of the city stretched out further than anything I had seen before. There was a haze of pollution that gave the buildings an eerie glow.

We landed at JFK airport and were picked up by the missionaries serving in the mission president’s office.  We were asked to retrieve our flip-charts from our luggage and were loaded into a white passenger van.  As we sped through traffic, at times it seemed on two wheels, on our way to an unknown destination in Queens; we were promised that the New York New York South Mission was the best in the world.  It was explained to us as new missionaries, that to thrive in the New Your New York South Mission it was necessary to be fearless.

We pulled into a busy neighborhood. There were tightly constructed homes that lined the street and the noise of the city intensified as we walked to our destination. We came to a street lined by international stores loudly playing Salsa, Meringue and Bachata music.  Every ten-minutes the 7 Train passed overhead along that street on an elevated track drowning out even the loudest music.  The sights and sounds of the city were exciting but also a little overwhelming for me, a quiet kid from Oregon. 

With flip-charts in hand, we walked to a busy corner under a train stop where a group of missionaries were gathered doing what I learned was called a “Street Sweep.”  The idea and function of a Street Sweep was that a group of missionaries would meet in a busy place and try to speak to as many people that walked by as possible.  As we approached, I noticed that in the middle of the group of missionaries someone had placed a milk crate, and I wondered naively what that might be used for. 

We arrived at the group of missionaries and I was given an explanation of the purpose of the milk crate.  My first action as a missionary in the field was to demonstrate my fearlessness.  I was instructed to stand on the crate and preach the gospel.  So, nervously and with some self-doubt, I stepped onto the milk crate, held up a picture of Joseph Smith, and bore my testimony in Spanish. 15-seconds later when I had exhausted my Spanish vocabulary, I tried stepping down.  However, I was told I was not done yet.  So I stayed on the milk crate and repeated what I knew over and over until it was another missionary’s turn.

The name of that busy street was Roosevelt Avenue.  That experience of stepping-up and facing my fears to testify for something right has been a great lesson in my life.  For this reason we gave our son the name Roosevelt.  So that he too might learn to be fearless in his life.

Ro hanging with his favorite person, Dad.

Ro Turns Two

Ro turned two!!!  Over two-months ago... Yeah, I haven't been so good at my family's current events.  Maybe I should also mention that I'm seven-and-a-half-months pregnant?  That's a whole other post...

Anyway, back to Ro.  He is an awesome kid.  I might be a little bias in my statement.  Though, I don't think by much.  Hey, even the lady at the zoo - who observed Ro for a mere two-minutes - called it like it is (she even mentioned that she sees dozens of kids everyday).  Ro is just an even-tempered, well-behaved, loving, obedient kid.  No credit on my part, he came to us that way.

Ro is growing by leaps and bounds!  Physically, yes.  But more so mentally.  I am blown-away by the things he remembers, knows, does, says.... everything.  He never ceases to amaze me.  Especially the memory bit.  I swear, that kid can see/visit something/somewhere once, and he will remember it for MONTHS to come.  For example, my brother and family visited us way back in June.  They took Ro to Snoqualmie Falls, a tourist attraction 45-minutes from home, while Wyatt and I went on a date.  Fast forward to October when Wyatt, Ro and I went on a leisurely drive and passed-by Snoqualmie Falls.  With ZERO prompting from Wyatt or me, we hear Ro in the backseat say, "Nuh."  (His name for my niece Savannah.)  He remembered the one-time, several months previously, he had visited the falls with my family!  Things like this happen all. the. time.  Maybe every two-year-old is like this?  I have no idea.  Even so, Ro is pretty special to us.

Other interesting things about Ro: he can count to four.  He can "read" the letters A, B, I, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, U, W, and X.  He knows all the colors of the rainbow.  He knows his opposites.  He knows how to jump with two-feet.  He loves to throw rocks.  He loves to run and race.  He loves to play hide and seek (though he's not very good at it).  He loves all modes of transportation: cars, busses, emergency vehicles, motorcycles, trains, and planes.  He loves the song, "Roar" by Katy Perry.  As well as, "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Suede.  And..."Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift.  (True to stereotype, he is not that into the music Wyatt and I like.)  He loves receiving "box" in the mail...and getting the mail.  He LOVES our neighbors "Mimi" and "Aum" (Mickey and Selam).  He loves swimming, though he's fickle about floating on his back.  He loves fluffy "sleeping bag" coats.  He's a really good helper (clean-up, making food, laundry, and tinkering in the garage with Wyatt).  And, as of last month, he is potty-trained!!!  Whoot, whoot!

Seriously, the list can go I'm sure you can imagine.  Another thing about Ro is that he is super shy.  Almost debilitating.  He clams-up around new people, which usually consists of hugging my leg very tightly.  We go to story-time at the library every Friday and he still clamps-on to me when we walk in the door.  As well as plants himself in my lap, refusing to budge.  And anytime the librarian asks him to participate at the front of the room (in front of all the kids) he refuses to do so with out me holding his hand.  I think Ro got his shyness from Wyatt.  Though, I'm a pretty shy person too.  However, if you visit Ro on his turf, you will see a totally different kid.  At home, Ro is full of energy - playful, energetic, funny, FUN!

I love this kid so much!  I feel so lucky that I get to spend my days with Ro.  I can't imagine anything I'd want to do more.  And I even miss him when we're apart for longer than a few hours.  In fact, I told Wyatt that I wanted a "day-off" for my birthday and Wyatt was happy to oblige and has suggested the opportunity a few times since.  But truthfully, when it comes down to it, I don't want a day-away from Ro.  I'd miss him too much!  (I used to roll my eyes at women that would say this.  Who am I?!)

Happy (belated) Birthday Sweet Boy!  We sure are happy you're a part of our lives!