The name Zane means God is Gracious or God's Gift - depending on where you look. When we were pregnant 4+ years ago, I looked up the name and was pleased that the meaning was something pleasant, but didn't really give it much thought. I knew I wanted the name Zane. I loved it from the first time I heard it a few years prior. There was no doubt in my mind that if we were having a boy, his name would be Zane. I liked the name because it is unique without being weird. It is easy to pronounce and spell. It is strong and sounds awesome with our last name. I loved the beauty of the name Zane and really could have cared less what some website listed as the origin or meaning behind it.
And then we got to know this special little boy we named Zane. As the years go by, we are getting to know more and more about who he is. And he is strong and beautiful and unique.
Zane celebrated his 4th birthday this past Sunday. He spent the whole day telling all his brothers that he's a "big boy now". He was so very proud. I had this ongoing game I was playing with him prior to his big day. I kept telling him that he wasn't allowed to have his birthday because I didn't want him to grow up. The first time I told him that, he was pretty mad. I had to explain to him that I didn't want him to grow up because I always wanted him to give me hugs and kisses and I always wanted him to love me. Every time after that first explanation when I would tell him he wasn't allowed to grow up, he would giggle like crazy and then assure me that he would still love me when he grows up. On Sunday, when he announced that he was now a big boy, he was also quick to reassure me that he did, indeed, still love me! Phew!
I'll tell anyone who asks that my least favorite of the pre-school phases are the newborn phase (cuddly, but boring and hard) and 3 year olds (not cuddly, but hard and harder). Zane did nothing to change my mind about either of those phases.
As the 3rd child (after a 5 and a half year break) he was a shock to the system as a newborn. As a 3 year old he was a grey-hair inducing challenge! He often had Bob and I questioning our parenting skills - and our sanity! He didn't sleep through the night, didn't eat what we cooked, didn't want to do things on our timeline, and always always always wanted things the way HE wanted them.
Zane has a way of getting what he wants - almost every time. He's strong-willing and insistent and opinionated. (Sounds lovely, doesn't it!) Luckily for him, he's got a couple of big brothers (and maybe a couple of parents) who are pretty willing to bend to his will consistently. While this has led to a bit of the spoiled (OK, I may be underemphasizing...) it has also resulted in a child who is self-assured and confident. He's a little leader. He can almost instantaneously read a room and know how to work it. I can see a very successful future as a suave salesman in his future. His pre-K teacher has admitted that she's nearly incapable of disciplining him because when he's doing something bad and she brings it to his attention he always turns on the charm and shoots her a lady-killer grin. She told us that he's "so darn cute that I usually have to turn my head to keep him from seeing me smiling." Yeah... I totally get what she means.
I don't know if it's the messy mop of blonde curls he has atop his head or those striking blue-grey eyes, but I'm constantly catching myself thinking "my goodness, he's a beautiful child". I know that sounds conceited or braggy or at least one of those things that all moms say, but for me... it's just Zane. I love my other boys and would stand Beckett up toe to toe with anyone in a cuteness contest, but Zane... Zane is our pretty child.
The interesting thing about raising a pretty boy with 3 other brothers is that I don't think he knows how pretty he is. In his mind, he's one of the gang. So he runs and plays and sweats and gets dirty. He is more coordinated than a newly 4 year old should be. He has been exposed to sports since before could walk and knows his way around every single one of our local parks and playgrounds. He loves to be outside and is itching to get to do all the things he watches Spencer and Quinn do. I know we've mentioned it before, but it's going to be so VERY much fun to watch this child don a uniform and start playing sports.
One of the other things that makes Zane special and different is his imagination. I think the reward for surviving a 3 year old is getting to witness the 4 year old on the other side. He has really come out of the hard tantrum-filled days and started the blossom that I know from experience will continue for the next couple of years. He's like a sponge... He notices everything. He remembers everything. He's starting to write and can spell his name. He knows the name of our street. And his imagination... wow! He has the benefit of being surrounded by ready playmates nearly 24x7, but he's also perfectly happy to play alone with some action figures or cars or plastic animals. He makes up stories and acts out all kinds of dramas. He's so very comfortable in his own skin and mind that he can easily slip in and out of the real world. I love to watch him play. He's fascinating!
I know that the hardest part of Zane's young childhood is over. I know that the next couple of years are probably the easiest ones we will have with him. I know, thanks to his big brothers, that he will be compliant and eager to please. He will want to learn and will not yet be afraid of trying new things. I know that he will still be young enough to want to hug and cuddle, but old enough to start taking some of the care-taking burdens on himself. I fully expect to enjoy this child in every way imaginable because I know how quickly this magical stage passes. Before long he will be a smelly tweener with interests that are not nearly as mom/home centric. So while I have his attention, I intend to soak in as much Zane as I can.
And every day I will thank God for his Gracious Gift. I don't know what we did to deserve Zane, but I will forever be thankful to be his mom. Here's to a fantastic year of being FOUR!