Exemplar

Noah is smallest. He doesn’t like being smallest. His brother is always bigger and often angry; often angry that no-one ever gets angry at Noah. This isn’t true, but Evan thinks so, and Noah gets pushed around and derided a lot. He wishes he were bigger.

Noah is deliberately different. His brother runs with a pack of boys and does boy-pack things. So Noah doesn’t go on carnival rides. Noah doesn’t ride a bicycle. Noah doesn’t want to go to Disneyland. He isn’t fearful, though.

I once lived on a hot beach with Noah. Every afternoon we walked out into the surf. When the water was to my hip he was over his head, swimming. He stayed swimming as we went out over my head, ducking under waves as large as I am. He rolled and flipped and bounced in the foam, always a bobbing, grinning head in the ocean when I looked around and spotted him.

I have no idea what I’m raising my kids to be, but there are a couple things I want them to do. One is, to learn making music. Evan started with piano, so Noah chose the violin. Contrary to his usual distinction, he dislikes practicing as much as his brother once did. Eventually, Evan changed his mind. I tell Noah he will, too. The distinction reasserts itself, and he twists up his face and hurls himself onto the couch and refuses to work through his lessons.

Noah sings easily and well (probably, dad will make him take lessons someday). He sings sometimes while he plays in the yard. Noah plays with a stick. He plays with a small, straight stick, seven or eight inches long. He has several. Some are his favorites. He selects one and twirls it in front of his face while he wanders around the yard. He is doing this: he is drawing a portion of something in the sky with his stick. Then, he is drawing the rest of it in his imagination and acting out a story about what he has drawn. His imagination is huge. Noah is a giant.

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