Four blonde little boys live in my house. All four look like their daddy, walk like their daddy, and throw a baseball like their daddy.
They have his sandy hair, light eyes, his button nose and his widow's peak. They have his stubborn cowlick that won't let their hair lie flat, no matter how much wetting or combing they attempt.
They are serious, stoic boys; quiet more often than noisy. They get lost in their thoughts, just like their daddy does. You can put the five of them together in a room and find them not talking, but not needing to talk; completely content in their community of quiet.
They are four boys who live to be outside helping dad; stacking firewood, working in the shop, doing farm things.
Just like him.
In this unit, this tightly-woven foursome, each member is as important to the group as any other. But one of them is the tiniest bit different from the others.
This one acts like me.
This child—the smallest one—has music in his soul, even though he doesn’t have much to say. He dances whenever he hears the faintest echo of a melody, he sings his own silly songs and claps his hands to imaginary beats.
The world is his drum set, and anything he can get his hands on, his drumsticks.
On rainy days when his big brothers have PlayStation football marathons in the basement, he bangs on the piano in the background. And they don’t mind.
When I get ready for work in the mornings, he lines my shoes up on my closet floor in long rows of perfect pairs. Then he squeals and comes to show me, dragging me back by the hand to point at his handiwork.
He makes sure his rhythm sticks get put back in the box the right way every time he uses them, and sets it right where it goes.
He must look at his baptism rosary every night before bedtime, or he cannot fall asleep.
I am not allowed to skip pages in his picture books. When I do, he catches me, and we have to go back to the beginning.
He has my music, but he also has my crazy: my obsessive, my compulsive. My overly-sensitive programming.
He looks like them, but he acts like me.
Our four boys remind me of the four bushes in our front yard—all hydrangeas; but one of them purple, not Annabelle white like the other three.
Like that purple hydrangea—our littlest boy is the same as the other three, but he is also different.
They are all their father's sons, but he is the only one who is mine.
He is my purple. And he will forever have my heart.