When we first arrived in Africa, Elias was this cute little preschooler everyone wanted to hug and carry around. Now I look at him and can’t believe how much he’s changed. He now plays with the big boys and can run, climb, and wrestle just as well as they can. He now does school with us and can tell you about Columbus and about letter sounds and about pennies and nickles and dimes. He now is a big brother and is learning about how to take care of a baby (and about what NOT to do with a baby). He has become quite the artist and spends hours drawing knights and dragons and animals.
And in other ways he hasn’t changed a bit. He still is a mover and you rarely find him sitting still. He crawls underneath his bed to play, he climbs on the window bars to look outside, he runs around outside with his beloved cat cradled helplessly in his arms. He is still our boy who craves physical touch. He gives out hugs and kisses freely and when we read together, he either is sitting on my lap or is wrapped around my shoulders. He is still the wild boy who most often hears our warnings of “Careful!” or “Pay attention!” and who always comes in with new scratches and bumps.
Elias is a loud child and just full of life. He has a deep love for his brothers. He loves to squeeze and play with Mathayo but often accidentally either scares him (because he is too loud) or hurts him (because “gentle” is a side not quite developed in Elias yet). He sobs over cats who get mistreated or old drawings of his which end up in the fire pit. He struggles with not repaying evil with evil and with speaking truthfully. He thrives when he gets lots of hugs and when we enter into his world of play. He has taught John and me much about patience and grace. And he has blessed our family in more ways than we could ever count.
Happy 5th birthday, Elias Michael Anyan!
And our yearly tradition, Elias’ birthday interview:
- How old are you? “5”
- How old is Mommy? “31?” (Almost)
- How old is Daddy “3 + 3” (He means 33, not 6)
- What is something mommy says to you? “Loveybunny”
- What makes you happy? “Movies, cake, treats, juisi (the Swahili word for juice), ice cream.”
- What makes you sad? “To die…or when someone doesn’t believe in Jesus.”
- What makes you laugh? “When someone stands on his head.” (starts giggling)
- What’s your favorite thing to do? “To kiss Judah and to play with Judah. And to watch movies at Huruma Home (the orphanage next door).”
- What’s your favorite thing to do outside? “To try to get coconuts!”
- Who’s your best friend? “God first, next Judah, next Jonas, next Willy, next Samuel, next Mama, next Daddy, next Mathayo, next Selah and Miriam and Gideon, the Buttons, and the Koehlers.”
- What’s your favorite Bible story? “When Jesus is born. And David!”
- What is God like? “Love. Can I draw a heart on your paper?”
- What superhero do you want to be? “Batman. Because he likes bats and has a Batmobil.”
- What’s your favorite food? “Cookie cake!”
- What’s your favorite book? “Hawkeye and the one about the mole.”
- What’s your favorite movie? “The blue bird movie.” (he means Rio 2)
- What’s your favorite song? “Yesu Kwetu Ni Rafiki” (“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” in Swahili, which we have been learning as a family)
- What’s your favorite color? “Silver, gold, blue, red.”
- What’s your favorite animal? “Baby doggies.”
- What’s your favorite toy? “Animal cards!” (they’re cards with animal pictures and facts on them that he has played with for hours each day for the last month or so)
- What do you want to be when you grow up? “Policeman, fireman, airplane driver, cave explorer, mountain climber, adventurer, diver.”