Completely Unaware

I’ve never been one who prided myself on always being ‘in the know’. Sometimes being ‘in the dark’ has it’s benefits.

Often I wonder what Jacob thinks about. A conversation he overheard? What our dogs are barking at? When will he go back to his day program? Who? What? When? Where?

He lives a fairly sheltered life. He can choose what channel he wants to watch on TV (within what is available in his room). He mainly chooses children’s shows. Sometimes the weather holds his attention. But he rarely watches the news. Not interested. Who can blame him?

Catching the news wasn’t a priority for me until about 4 years ago, leading up to the U.S. Presidential election. Also didn’t read the newspaper much either (only the Food section). I actually felt ignorant when it came to world news.

It seemed, on a daily basis, I was taking in and processing all I could. Figured I’d hear something when I needed to. I’m sure some of you have gasped at my lack of interest. No haters, please. While I’m being all transparent, there is not a single sport that warrants my time sitting in front of the TV. I heard that! I am the completely unaware one when it comes to sports.

I realize there are an incredible number of happenings, worthy of being reported. Stories that need to be told. Events that deserve close examination to learn more. Catastrophic pain. People close to home and far away that need our support in various ways. To share with and pray for. I’m not saying my choice was right to ignore, but I am saying that was my choice.

When our boys were little, we sheltered them from violence, abuse, foul language, etc. as much as we possibly could. While realizing they would and were exposed to those things as they got older and were out from under our wings. The good and the bad help you learn your place. How to stand up for who and what you believe in. To see right from wrong.

When our first granddaughter came along, I became highly sensitive to what was on the news. All of a sudden my awareness was magnified, wanting to shield her innocence. And not wanting her to hear about a school shooting or other things that nightmares are made of. It’s our job to protect eyes and ears, as much as possible.

Then this year we started hearing about Covid-19 and became glued to the news. Jacob’s life would certainly be affected by this pandemic. All of ours would. Even though he didn’t have a clue about the seriousness. What all the graphs meant. And certainly, wearing a mask and keeping 6 feet from anyone wouldn’t make sense in his mind. The only thing he realized, was it meant more time playing at home.

And as we watched/listened, stories didn’t match up, and it became hard to know what and who to believe. Seemed so much of it wasn’t factual news but stories to sway us one way or the other. To pit us against each other. I found myself back in the ‘rarely watches the news’ category. And, it was okay. It brought a sense of ease, even peace. Ignorance is not bliss. But I would go so far to say unawareness is. Especially when you put your trust in the God of all the universe.

If you aren’t on social media or tuned in to nightly news, you may not know about local, national, and world news. I would argue that at times, it might be just the prescription for mental health. Worry and anxiety come from all of the ‘what ifs’.

It’s pretty nice that Jacob is completely unaware. Social injustice doesn’t mean anything to him. He doesn’t fear being hurt because he heard that someone, like him, was. He doesn’t worry about getting sick or us running out of toilet paper. I don’t know if he’s ever thought ‘what if?’ about anything. Living in the moment matters to him. Not the future.

He is never going to play Trivial Pursuit or be a contestant on Jeopardy. He’ll never vote in an election. He needs peace rather than confusion. There are enough other things that stress him without hearing nightly news.

And that is fine with me.

Unaware: oblivious, out-of-it, ignorant, innocent, uninformed, unknowing, blind, inattentive, out-to-lunch, unmindful and negligent.

Those descriptions are hard to embrace. I have turned a blind eye to what is hard to watch. Been oblivious to ‘what doesn’t touch my family’. The truth is, maybe I’ve accepted – Ignorance is Bliss – because I can’t worry about what I don’t know about!

I choose to focus on what I do know, and that is, God is in control. Only God can heal our land. Only God can change hearts. And while you may feel completely unaware or have a firm hold on reality, I’d encourage you to listen closely to the words of this 3 year old. Yes, out of the mouth of babes, God speaks and we would be mindful to listen.

“We don’t know, we don’t know, but if you read this Bible…..”

Don’t be unaware of the truth of the good news. Shared by the precious one that made us grandparents.

“It will talk to you about, Jesus.” “That You love us.” “All the time.”

How Sweet It Is

If you don’t know Jacob, words really aren’t enough. If you do, words aren’t necessary. And yet, here I am trying to paint a picture with enough words to make our story real and give a clearer understanding, if that’s possible.

Reading this blog week after week, you are getting to know him and that is huge for me. Thank you for being interested in our life. Curious about autism. How he ticks. How we parent. (Disclaimer, we don’t know what we are doing.) What makes us laugh. What makes us cry, or at least feel like it. What we’ve survived!

The other night at bedtime our routine was different. Usually Mike is the last one in his room. Jacob listens to ‘Wheels on the Bus’ on the kindle, then night time prayers, he’s covered up, and lights go out. I was the last one in his room that night. I covered him (in his bearded man sheets that I say are pictures of his brother), knelt on the floor by his bed, and started singing to him. I actually sang a lullaby. “Lullaby and good night, go to sleee-eeep, my Jacob.” Over and over and over again. Part long-time lyrics and part made up as I went.

He was calm and his eyes twinkled and he didn’t want me to stop. It was a sweet, tender moment that was a God wink for me. I wish you could have been a fly on the wall to witness the stillness. The contentment. The bond.

How sweet it is to be loved by him.
How sweet it is, the love is not a whim.
You better believe, I close my eyes at night,
Thanking God for this precious gift in my life.
Everything I do, seems to be with him in mind.
Everywhere I go, to return from leaving him behind.
He makes me crazy, furious, and happy all in a day.
I can’t even begin to name all the countless ways.
For every emotion he brings me to, now and then.
Jesus, I just want to stop and say Thank You, again.

I don’t believe Jacob has a malice bone in his body. He is in no way perfect. I just don’t think he has the desire to do evil. Even though he has a sin nature, like I do, his thought process probably doesn’t work like mine, to get what he wants. Does he lash out? Yes. Lose control? Indeed. Show love? In his own way, absolutely!

The tune made popular by James Taylor in the 70’s started playing in my head that night. ‘How sweet it is to be loved by you.’ I started thinking about my privilege to be Jacob’s mom. To love him like I do because I can sing, “how sweet it is to be loved by You”. Knowing every good and perfect gift comes from God above.

And, I can look in his eyes and sing a lullaby to my 41 year old son. “Close your eyes, sound asleep, sweee-eeet dreams my boy.”

How sweet it is.

Surely Not!

My Instagram profile: Baker, Craft Maker, Autism Caretaker. That does not, by any means, sum up who I am as a person. But, it does describe a large portion of my days.

Baking is one of my favorite things to do. My mom loves to bake and her mom did, too. Being in the kitchen is usually good therapy for me. Jacob is one of my two resident taste-testers.

Rainbow Cinnamon Rolls had been on my list of things to try for several weeks. Thinking Jacob loves cinnamon rolls and fun colors. So, combining those two, surely I would have a hit on my hands.

I got a late start on the day I planned to bake so it was after 9 o’clock that night before they were ready to sample. Went back to his room, “Jacob, come in the kitchen, I’ve got cinnamon rolls made!” He jumped up and came straight away.

I had made two small pans. One of mini rolls and one regular size. I cut a couple of the minis into bite-size pieces on his plate. He studied (as in, ‘what is this odd thing you’ve set before me?’), leaned in close to smell, and then …

WALKED AWAY!! What? I was shocked. How could he walk away from a still warm cinnamon roll. And to top it off, multi-colored with sprinkles! Who can resist that?

I surmised that he wasn’t hungry. He just thought he was. That evening, he’d eaten more homemade macaroni and cheese than most could hold in a sitting. So, his dad, begrudgingly, agreed to be the taste tester and gave them a thumbs up.

Okay, that’s alright. He could have them for breakfast the next day.

Being as how, these days, we rarely have to be anywhere first thing in the morning, I let Jacob sleep in. He woke on his own about 9:45. Once he was stirring, I reminded him of the cinnamon rolls. Wasn’t interested. You may remember, there are some days that he rarely eats anything until over in the afternoon. That’s fine, I can deal.

When he did, finally, wander in the kitchen, I said, “here’s you some juice, and warmed cinnamon rolls”. He looked at me like, ‘not again’. I.Am.Serious. What in the world? Surely he wasn’t turning his nose up at homemade rainbow cinnamon rolls? With sprinkles?

He went to the refrigerator and started to open it. “No, take a bite. I made these and you like cinnamon rolls.” Walked away, again.

At some point he came back in to my same remark. This time, he covered the plate with his Sunday School lesson and a card he’d recently gotten in the mail. And, nicely, handed it to me. Surely not!

Mike and I were laughing as we ate lunch. What parent says, “you eat all that sugar before you can have anything else to eat!”? Me. That’s who. That is literally what I was doing. Figured I better let it go and let him choose what he wanted to eat (within reason).

Sweet fella, went back to the refrigerator and touched the red beans and sausage. I heated it over rice and he sat down and went to town.

Two more bowls and he finally had his fill. While the sad cinnamon rolls sat pushed aside feeling all rejected (or maybe that was me), as he chose Three Musketeers for dessert. He was a happy camper. And I, a bewildered baker.

Red Beans and Sausage (as recommended by Jacob)

2 lbs. Smoked sausage
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 cans kidney beans, drained
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme

Cut sausage into 1/4-inch slices. Brown sausage, bell pepper, onion, and celery until vegetables are tender. Add one can of kidney beans to crock pot and mash. Add browned sausage, vegetables and remaining ingredients and stir. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve over hot rice.

I am seriously thrilled when Jacob enjoys anything I prepare. Always striving to keep my #1 customer and taste-tester satisfied! I even baked another batch thinking maybe the colors were so dark they weren’t appetizing. I was determined to win him over.

Rainbow Cinnamon Roll recipe: @thepurplecupcake_

Follow me on IG: @tereldaisterripig and @tereldasthreads

It didn’t happen.

One Hundred

Problem Free Philosophy marks its 100th post today! Pull out the streamers and cut the cake!!! YAY!

I got a WordPress renewal notice last week to continue for two more years. Hmmmmmmm…. decisions, decisions.

For quite some time, I used Facebook as a platform to share our lives. Funny things. Hard things. Happy and sad things. Not for accolades but as a way of explanation, of transparency, of truth.

As a way to peek into our lives. Into one family’s autism journey. Good or bad, we have really sheltered Jacob. Outside of our special needs community, few people know him, have ever seen him, and weren’t aware of his existence. One of my big regrets is not exposing Jacob to more experiences and more people. Instead, I let the awkwardness and the unknown steal memory-making moments from our family. We’ll never know how things would be different if I’d been braver.

We find ourselves at an odd place in our lives right now. In many ways, every day is the same as the day before. Jacob has been home for six months. In the past, a lot of my stories were current to what happened at his day program. Now, we don’t know what day of the week it is! Or, when he’ll return to that daily schedule.

In October 2018 I began to tell our story. Reflection is good, so I’ll do that. These are just some of the blog reactions that stand out, some repeated by multiple people:

“I had no idea.”

“I have a reminder set, every Thursday, to read the blog. It is really good and has given me a lot of insight.”

“Your blog touches my heart strings.”

“You need to write a book.”

“Your blog about insecurities is exactly what every new (and experienced) mom and dad needs to read!”

“I love today’s story and can relate!”

“Your blog entries are always inspirational, heart warming, as well as educational for me.”

“Snack. Eat. Snack. Jacob and I have been doing the same thing.”

“Jacob’s got a friend that loves him.”

“I’m sure every special needs child’s mom has gone through something like that one way or the other.”

“Jacob has a way of getting someone’s attention!”

“You have opened my eyes to living with autism.”

“You speak to my heart through all your blog entries! Today you spoke through a MEGAPHONE!” “So powerful.”

“That was just what I needed to hear.”

“If you’d consider putting these in a book form, we’d like to help fund.”

“Even though life is a different journey for me, I’m always encouraged by your story.”

“I think there is an insecure button in us that only we can push and it is up to us to take charge of our insecurities and put a cover on that button.”

“You and Mike are so blessed with a full on Prayer Army!”

“Jacob is GREAT!”

“There are moms and dads that need to hear your joys, as well as your struggles.”

“I’ve gotten to know so much about Jacob. Things I had no idea about!”

“I love reading about the funny things that Jacob does.”

“Thank you for being real. People need to understand it isn’t always easy.”

“I look forward to these every week.”

“You are right where God wants you to be.”

“My heart melted and my eyes are leaking.”

“I love hearing about Jacob.”

“Well, I cried thru that post. Thank you for being so transparent.”

“You were chosen. Much respect.”

“I love that God has given you the ability to laugh in the midst of tremendous frustration.”

Every week, someone comments on the blog, sends me a text, or comments on Jacob’s Problem Free Philosophy Facebook page some encouraging word that fuels me to keep going. Those above are just a few.

This blog does many things and one is that it makes me look for the positive. It makes me evaluate the negatives. It makes me more vulnerable to criticism. And, creates a self-imposed pressure to churn out a new post every week. It also makes Jacob more visible even though he’s been home for six months.

When Jacob’s Mamaw passed away in July, a long-time friend called me, “Jacob hasn’t been around me much, but I would be happy to come stay with him to help you out.” Would that selfless offer have been made if she hadn’t read approximately ninety Problem Free Philosophy posts? Probably so. She’s that kind of friend. Did having learned little bits and pieces about Jacob make her more confident that she could manage? I like to think so.

This blog became my sharing platform and without knowing it, you help write the posts. Thank you.

Making Sense of Sunday

For as long as I can remember Sunday was unlike any other day of the week. Mike and I were brought up by Christian parents who were intentional about taking our families to church. Typically we were there Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and back on Wednesday evening. And that is how we raised our family as well.

Then slowly things began to change. Jacob could cause a rukus in a worship service so we’ve always had someone stay with him in another area of the church or our home. In the last couple of years, we might have made it to church two Sundays a month because it became more difficult to find a consistent person to give us those few hours weekly.

Worshipping shoulder to shoulder with your brothers and sisters in Christ is one of the most beautiful experiences on earth. When that is not possible you become resourceful. The capability to livestream a service into our home is a blessing not to be taken for granted. Something generations before us didn’t have and probably couldn’t have even imagined.

Search the web and you can find sermons and Bible studies by every pastor imaginable and every subject. We have so much at our fingertips! Don’t miss out on what God has to say to you through His word delivered in hundreds of different ways.

Mike and I tuned in to our pastor delivering a sermon via livestream recently while Jacob played happily in his room. Listening to music, bouncing on his bed, and having a grand time. The only problem was as our pastor started speaking, “I want to ask you to turn in your Bible to John, Chapter 21”, Jacob’s music got louder and louder:

Uh, huh, She loves the monkey’s uncle,
Yeah, yeah, She loves the monkey’s uncle,
Whoa, whoa, She loves the monkey’s uncle,
And the monkey’s uncle’s ape for me!

I had a lot of trouble that day concentrating as my thoughts were competing with the monkey’s uncle. But isn’t that life? Things distract us. Find a way to focus! Which often means putting in earbuds. Sometimes it means watching a replay later.

Sunday’s aren’t the same as they were but we are making the best of them. Last February, ‘Zoom’ meant to increase the font size of a document or what an airplane does! By mid-March, we were accessing Bible Study by Zoom or sharing life with friends via a weekly Zoom meeting.

Last Sunday one of Jacob’s Sunday School teachers called, “Hey Terri, I’ve got M on the phone and we want to sing Jacob’s favorite song to him”. Only problem was that Jacob was still sound asleep. We set up for them to try again later and at 11:30 Jacob got a phone call. Mrs. J played the piano and M led a group of special friends, who live in a group home setting, in singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot to Jacob.

In all his years attending the Special Ministries class, when they’d sing that song, he would twirl and smile. Hum and sing in his own way. They all knew it was his favorite. That morning he sat still on his bed and listened. He reached for the phone. There was no twirling and I didn’t catch a smile but you better believe, he loved it. He clapped as he was transported back to Sunday like it used to be.

We are in a new normal and don’t know what the future holds. We do know who holds the future and even if we aren’t able to worship in the same ways as before, we are making sense of Sunday by taking advantage of all the many wonderful ways to connect.

The Rest of the Story

The Through the Woods post last week,, ended with Jacob not wanting to leave. He was so glad to be at Granny and Granddaddy’s. The day went by too fast. He hadn’t been there long enough. He likes it best when their home isn’t filled with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins.

I resorted to a bribe to get him off the couch, “if you get up, we’ll get hamburgers on the way home”. I grabbed his cup of orange juice and diluted it with water to give him something to drink in the van. It’s his preferred cup with a spout top. Not spill proof, but a good solution. The bribe worked and we were soon on our way.

When we are travelling, I’m often checking him in the backseat mirror. As I watched, he took a drink and then sat the cup across from him on the ledge. What was I thinking? Mistake #1 was giving him juice instead of water in a moving vehicle. Several times I told him to put the cup in the cup holder. I could just imagine the cup sliding and sticky juice going everywhere. I switched from asking him to put it in the cup holder to asking him to hand me the cup. He looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language and refused.

I decided to crawl over the console and take the cup. That was Mistake #2! Don’t report me but I unbuckled to get the cup that was teetering on the edge.

As I reached for the cup, Jacob reached for my arm and pulled me toward him. Alrighty, Mistake #3 in progress—I sat by him. Didn’t have much choice so I buckled up. One of our hard realities is that no one can ride near or beside Jacob in a vehicle. Oh that we could go back to the days of us riding like a ‘normal’ family. His place is alone on the third row of our van. It works except for when it doesn’t.

Okay, fine, I could ride the rest of the way home sitting by him. Obviously he wanted me there as he wouldn’t let go. Obviously he wanted me to go back where I came from because he was intent on causing trouble.

I am not exaggerating when I say it felt like I was sharing the seat with an octopus!! How can Jacob’s two arms appear to be 6 or 8? He was bent on pulling my arms, clothing, and hair. It sounds crazy but it is impossible to escape him with his arm down the back of my shirt. Mike asked if I wanted him to pull over. He was watching arms flying and helpless to intercede. We were on the interstate and I was determined to manage until we got home.

Because I knew what could happen, I quickly undid my necklace and set it aside. Lesson from the past with broken necklaces! Mistake #4, I didn’t remove my bracelet. He grabbed, it snapped, and I was mad! I reached to take off my earrings realizing I was already missing one.

It was 25 minutes of misery. And as angry as I was at him, I was more overwhelmed with sadness. How did we get here? What makes him react to me, or anyone, being in his space?

I’ve promised fast food burgers before because it’s something he enjoys. I had every intention of keeping that promise. Until, I couldn’t reward him for the behavior he exhibited before we arrived home.

We were frazzled but lived to tell about it! I learned from Mistake #1. There is no reason for him to have anything but water when on the road. I think I’ll remember that. The broken bracelet was repaired quite easily with my handy needle-nose pliers. Mike found the missing earring in the stow-away floorboard.

A few days later we went on a long ride and he was perfect. And, we got him hamburgers while we were out.

That brings me to, Mistake #5 – I accidentally published this post on the ninth of August. As I created this story I went to save and set a August 20th publish date, and I clicked the wrong button!! I try to work ahead and have a couple of posts ready to go. That doesn’t always happen but it helps me to compose and then mull it over. I usually edit quite a bit between the creation and going live.

I was so aggravated with yours truly. In almost a hundred posts, it is the second time I posted before I was ready. But this one needed to follow last week’s. Unfortunately, this one had a sad undertone, a true example of living with autism.

But know this, I’m not in the habit of pointing out all the mistakes I’ve made. You know how on Facebook and Instagram, we show our ‘best side’? Right. While the mistakes listed here weren’t catastrophic, they added up to a frustrating total. Thank the Lord I am not the sum of my mistakes. His grace covers me and reminds me tomorrow is a new day. Learn from mistakes and move on. I learned a lot that day. It’d be nice if sharing my mistakes helps someone, too.

Please understand that as crummy as part of that ride was, it didn’t ruin the trip. The visit was fantastic.

And, the ending became it’s own post.

Through the Woods

Open the gate and to The Woods,
To Granny and Granddaddy’s house we go.
GPS knows the way to take us there,
It’s gonna be great, we know!

We were overdue for a visit. As soon as we got the van loaded , I told Jacob we were going to Granny and Granddaddy’s. He could not get to the door fast enough to head out. Obviously pretty happy about our destination.

Upon arrival he got out quickly and began exploring. He needed to get out of our house and this was the perfect place to do his thing. Whatever thing he felt like doing!

He pulled stuff out of the closet. Toys, linens, whatever was of interest.

He opened cabinets and drawers. Looking for treasures, magazines, candy, who knows?

He pulled things out in their office. Being most interested in a stack of blank DVDs. They were either tempting to spin or surely held some wonderful content.

He got all nosey in their bedroom. Curious to see what Granddaddy keeps in his nightstand. And, although I didn’t get a picture, he got down and looked under their bed. Granny and I were cracking up!

He stayed busy going from room to room seeing what he could find. He ate all the snacks brought from home and some of Granny’s, too.

He found the photo albums. That’s like winning the lottery to Jacob. He LOVES thumbing through pictures. At one point he probably had six albums opened and spread across the floor. Evidence of not getting to do that often enough. Look closely at the photos of him and Granny where you can see into the den and all the open doors!

He made Granny and Granddaddy happy with his antics and obvious pleasure. It made me happy to be there. We had lunch together and it was fabulous. Hominy Casserole, Cream Peas, Fried Green Tomatoes, Homemade Sour Dough Bread, and Fresh Peach Dessert (ripe peaches, angel food cake, peach jello, and cool whip). #familycookbook Granny and I were a team frying up those Green Tomatoes. Oh.My.Goodness. You need some of these in your life.

This isn’t a cooking blog but I’m gonna share this recipe. They are that good. And, why not?


3 medium green tomatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
cooking oil

Slice tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Discard ends.
Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside. Combine 1/4 cup flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.
Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.
Pour oil to a depth of 1/4-inch in an electric skillet; heat to 375 degrees. Carefully place tomatoes in hot oil and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on rack over paper towels. #familycookbook

Jacob wouldn’t go near them but that was fine by me.

After a morning of exploring, he relaxed on the office couch. And fell asleep! Told you he was busy. We let him sleep a while but finally had to wake him up to head home. He was determined not to get up off that couch. Pushed me away. Squeezed his eyes shut. Got up to appease me, only to run back and stretch out again. Little rascal. NOT ready to go home.

It’s gonna be great we know!

And, we were right!

Showin’ You the Door

In some ways, Jacob is very much like a child. And in some ways, he is like a typical teenage guy.

How you ask?

He likes loud music. Not necessarily the genre that most teens might like, but he likes it LOUD!

He has odd eating habits. Healthy choices aren’t of interest to him.

Usually needs a shave.

He’s content wearing the same thing for 4 days in a row.

He likes to sleep in.

He can be rude to his parents. Wait. WHAT????? Surely, not Jacob.

I’m sure not suggesting that all teenagers are rude. Or, that rudeness only comes from that age bracket. We know that isn’t so!

He will insist, with urgency, that we come to his room. Upon getting there, he will quickly close the door in our face. YES. HE. DOES. Rude, but actually funny at the same time. It happens fairly often, too. He’s trying to make a point that can probably have multiple meanings.

Sometimes though, we are needed. It may be to plug up music. Or turn on a lamp. Or change batteries. Or maybe adjust the speed or turn off the ceiling fan. When we have completed the tasks, he is quick to show us the door.

He is not partial to only us when it comes to being rude. I know, right?

Anyone who has been in our home, for any length of time, and ventured into Jacob’s bedroom, has experienced him showin’ you the door. Some are lucky enough to stay longer than others.

We have learned to tell new sitters, not to take it personally, but that he doesn’t want them to sit in his room. That’s not why he has a nice comfy chair. You are allowed to come in, but when your service has been rendered, he will show you the door.

Friends may want to stop in to see Jacob. Thinking they’ll sit in his room and chat a little. Before long, he is showin’ them the door.

If it’s someone he loves, a family member, sitter, or long time friend, he may offer his cheek for you to kiss him. But, he is just being polite before showin’ you the door!

Years ago, our youngest granddaughter was staying with us and at some point, she said, “Nannie, I need you to go out and close the door. I need my privacy.” At the time, ’privacy’ seemed like a really big word for such a little girl. But, she knew she wanted to be alone.

Indeed, Jacob’s way of saying, ‘I need my privacy’ is showin’ you (and us) the door!

And everyone deserves their privacy!!

All Hands on Deck

At Jacob’s last dental check-up, the hygienist discovered a cracked tooth and quickly pointed it out to us.

(Mike and I are on either side of Jacob during any dental visit. A gentle tap resulted in part of the tooth breaking off. There was no reaction from him, indicating it didn’t hurt. Wouldn’t you agree from the photo above? He was chillin’!!

When the dentist checked him though, she decided a x-ray was in order to determine the next course of action. Jacob was wrapped snug on a board, so it made the most sense to keep him secure and move him to the machine. Literally, all hands on deck, we picked him up and carried him through the office for the x-ray.

He was a trooper even though it probably seemed like a wild ride!

The decision was made that the best course of action would be to extract the tooth. That was almost 6 months ago. Circumstances caused us to postpone the appointment twice. Not even once did he appear to be bothered by the broken tooth. Had he been, we would have gotten an appointment for him ASAP.

The day came when we couldn’t put it off any longer. Although, I acted cool, calm, and collected, because I didn’t want Jacob to sense my concern, I wasn’t on the inside! It was an act. Unfortunately, it was a tooth where a root canal had been done many years before. It wasn’t as if we could sit down, wiggle the tooth, and expect it pop out like a baby tooth. No, it was much more complicated than that.

Jacob started out really great. However, before it was over, he pretty much freaked out. I cannot think of much worse than watching your child have to go through something hard. Helpless to mainly watch, Mike and I looking at each other, over Jacob, with pain in our eyes. Knowing he is wondering when will this end?!?! Oh, that one of us could have taken his place. I felt like freaking out, too.

For such a procedure, it took everybody coordinating efforts to get the job done. Starting with us at home, giving an initial sedative before the appointment. All hands on deck, once again, with professionals bending over backwards to make it as painless as possible for Jacob. Two physicians along with their assistants. With two parents looking over their shoulders. What doctor welcomes that? These do as they realize Jacob needs us. Even so, I wouldn’t like it if I were in their place.

I have no doubt that every single person that God placed in our path that day served a purpose in the success of the necessary work. At one point when it wasn’t going as smoothly and quickly as we hoped, I texted my family and zoom friends asking for prayers. They became part of the ‘all hands’ group.

The oral surgeon warned of bleeding, soreness, swelling, and bruising. Suggested an ice pack (which would have only been possible had he come home heavily sedated). She was correct about the bleeding. Not to get graphic, but he doesn’t have the mindset to catch a bleed so it gets all over him, us, bedroom, everything.

So thankful Mike and I are a team. Even though we wish doctors, dentists, and oral surgeons made house calls, we have each other to be there for Jacob. It is a gift to be able to offer reassurance, that we are nearby, by talking and singing to him. And while I believe that we are a comfort, it’s still really hard to watch.

He slept a lot that afternoon, which was timely since the numbness would be wearing off. Had trouble eating and drinking at first. An ice cream sandwich finally did the trick. He was pampered with lots of room service.

That night he slept much better than I did. It felt like I watched him on the monitor all night! Around 4 AM he was really squirming and I was prepared to go in but he finally got still and fell back into a deep sleep. Pain meds every four hours helped a lot.

Early the morning after, I went to a local bakery and bought two dozen-donut holes. It’s a favorite treat that he doesn’t get often. Fresh and super soft, they almost melt in your mouth. He was pumped when he realized what I bought. I pinched them in half and he slowly ate 24 donut holes! You read that right. Twenty-four!

His day got off to a good start as far as we were all concerned! He was hesitant to eat much the rest of that day and for several days. His Granny said he was holding out for more donut holes!!

Today marks four weeks later. Initially, he had a tiny bit of swelling and no bruising. He appeared to be sore for maybe a couple of weeks. I still notice him moving food around in his mouth sometimes. It was a doozy as procedures go. Glad I hadn’t realized beforehand exactly what we would face.

But more than that, I am extremely thankful that it was the hand of God that guided all of those ‘hands on deck’, in the different roles they played, as they cared for my boy and served our family.

Food Art

“Don’t play with your food.” How many times did we say that to our kiddos? I’m sure I did more than once or twice.

But, I am often entertained at Jacob playing with his. I don’t know that it’s intentional, but I do know that he enjoys it. And, I enjoy his creations.

He makes me smile. A lot.

There is something fun about balancing stuff on watermelons!

Good place for muffins. Hidden in a photo album.

Once when we were out of town, Jacob’s sitter sent me this picture. Cracks me up. What was he thinking? Not sure why the one muffin on top. Decorative purposes? Couldn’t fit inside?

Stashing for later! Among the photo albums.
This is when having dogs comes in handy!!

Oops! Accidental food art caused by Jacob opening a box of cereal. Accidental art is a thing, right?

Always fold cheese toast in half and take first bite from the middle.

That’s the best part.
He bit the middle creating a perfect heart.

Goodness, he is my heart.

Love his creativity. Love him more.

Hope he brought a smile to your face, too!