Fifteen years ago today I gave birth to my first son...and so began a wonderful
romance. My life has been decidedly different because Jake has been a part
of it. If you will indulge me...
Having Jake in my life has meant...
...a thousand million hugs. Jake is one of the most affectionate people I know.
He has brought tremendous joy to so many by his uninhibited displays of
affection. I doubt he will ever know how very significant that has been.
...ART. When Jake was a very little boy, I knew something was different about
him. Usually when little children color, they fill a page with large gestures of
color using the whole arm. Jake always made little Cezanne-like squares of
color. By the time he was three, his Sunday School teachers (and sometimes
total strangers) were commenting on his drawings. They were incredible.
Dragons and superheroes were his preferred subjects, rendered in astonishing
detail. One year, when he was 8 or 9 years old, he forgot to pack his drawing
supplies for a vacation. On the drive home, he was shaking like an addict as he
said to me, "Mommy, I can't wait to get home so I can draw." Some of my favorite
memories of Jake are from visits to art museums. I could hardly look at the pieces
for looking at him. He becomes completely lost in the art. He interacts with the
works as though they are alive. For him, I suppose, they are. These days, his art
takes different forms (body art, drawings of friends, hair, clothing...), but it
remains an essential part of who he is. As he looks toward the future, art is always
part of the consideration. I can hardly wait to see what God intends to do with him.
...music. Children's choir, recordings (both audio and video), piano, saxophone...
Now he is writing his own songs. When he was little, Kelsey and I (who have a
disease that causes us to remember every song we ever hear word for word)
laughed at him because he had inherited his dad's tendency to make up words in
songs and not even realize they were made up. No more. He is devoted to his
favorite artists and can reproduce with complete accuracy. He has a wonderful
ear for harmony. It is great fun to sing in the car with him.
...books. Homeschooling afforded us a wonderful luxury of time to read. Jake,
Kelsey and I would curl up on the couch, or on the front porch, and spend a whole
morning (or afternoon) in a book. We have enjoyed magnificent voyages through
time and space. I would reach the end of a chapter, and they would unanimously
cry "just one more chapter!" Jake was an early reader, and was knocking back
500 page Redwall books by the time he was in fourth grade. Video games and
activities with friends have taken some of the time that used to belong to reading,
but he spent the four hour drive home last night lost in Brisingr, the third book in
the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini.
...encouragement. Jake sees things. When he eats a lovely meal, he realizes
someone has devoted a great deal of creativity and effort to its creation. He will
find that person and make sure they know how much he appreciates it. A new
haircut, a well sung song, a good story, a kind deed...he misses nothing. And,
he is compelled to speak it...words of blessing...words of value...words of life.
I have been the lucky recipient of many of those kind words.
...curiosity. Jake loves to try new things. He has always enjoyed creative and
interesting food. It is a joy to eat with him and to cook for him. And now, I get
to cook with him which may very well be my favorite. Traveling with Jake is a
delight. He embraces each part of the experience. From navigating Paris
Metro maps, to climbing the rocks in the harbor at Vernazza, to descending
inside the Grand Canyon, to screaming his lungs out on the Aerosmith Rock
n Roller Coaster, life is one adventure after another. We are already dreaming
of where we want to go next...
...ideas. I have tried to imagine what it would be like to be inside Jake's head.
Cacophony. Sometimes, he tells me about inventions or dreams that are
circulating through his head. He can hardly get the words out fast enough.
And, the plans are fully articulated and developed to a high degree of
sophistication. I confess that sometimes I am using all my powers of
concentration to follow him. And, he has totally outstripped my knowledge of
quantum physics. He is brilliant! And that's the truth.
...love. Sometimes...rarely...Jake gets frustrated and is unkind. He has
made decisions that he regrets. But, I have never known anyone of whom
I could say that his intentions are always good. I can say that about Jake.
I believe that every day he wants the best for those he loves. I have seen
him forgive. I have seen him be generous. I have seen him take the first
step when healing is needed. Jake loves extravagantly. It is impossible to
know him and not know love. Ask his friends. They will tell you it's true.
So thanks Jake. Thanks to the wiggly little bundle of blue eyes and blonde
hair that burst into my life on the day before Thanksgiving fifteen years ago.
Thanks to the little boy who played in the creek, and explored every inch of
our farm, and took such good care of our dogs. Thanks for books, and art,
and music, and hugs. Thanks for telling me about inventions I don't even
understand. Thanks for choosing to believe the best about everyone and for
loving generously. Thanks for cooking and traveling and riding bikes with me.
Thanks for making me smile. Thank you. Thank YOU. THANK YOU for being
I love you!
*Originally published 24 November 2008