About four years ago, two girls were adopted into our family, bringing our grandchildren number to three. They don’t live as close as I’d like but we see them as often as possible. And, we take every opportunity to have them in our home for however long their parents are willing to let them be away! Over spring break, two grands came to stay for several days. When they are here, it is safe to say, I cannot help but be on edge because of Jacob’s unpredictable behavior. They are really great with him but he isn’t always happy for the intrusion in his life. One morning he was up at 7 AM and ready to head out the door. Mike joked that he was in a hurry to get away from all the girls.
When grandchildren are in town, we are busy with nonstop activities. Making a point of cramming in as much fun as possible in the time we have. I have such fond memories of time with my grandparents that I want them to remember our times together as well. For most outings, Jacob is either at his day program (happy to have his own space) or he is home with a sitter. This visit, though, we chose to take the girls AND Jacob to a Disney on Ice show. We decided to go in two vehicles. Not knowing if Jacob might have a meltdown, I could remain with the girls and Mike could leave with Jacob, if necessary. Plus, Jacob does not like anyone riding near him in the van. He is comfortable with his chauffeur/driver and a co-pilot, but no one else.
On the way to the coliseum I talked to the girls about what we might expect out of Jacob. Remember, he is unpredictable. He might squeal. He might grab a person’s arm, hair, clothing, glasses, and/or jewelry if they are all up in his space. He might self-stem twirling his hand and fingers. He would ride and remain in his wheelchair (because we learned a long time ago that he is most comfortable in a large crowd if secured in a chair). He’d take the elevator and we’d probably take the stairs. I was just trying to prepare them so they’d not be caught off guard as they’ve rarely seen Jacob outside of home.
We got to the venue with plenty of time to spare, found our seats, and hit the concession stand. Early during the show, one grand leaned over and whispered, “Nannie,” she had my attention and continued, “I would be proud to call Jacob my son.” Just like that. Struck to the core. This young, teenage girl. Wise beyond her years. Where did that come from? Most everything embarrasses a teenager. But, obviously hanging around Jacob didn’t bother her at all. My granddaughter said what may be the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. It wasn’t like she was trying to give me a pep talk perhaps sensing I was frustrated. I wasn’t. We were having a wonderful time. It was totally unprompted and I was the one caught off guard. The only conclusion, that made any sense to me, was that she was seeing Jacob as a really cool dude. One she loved because he is her dad’s brother. And realizing she could be happy having a son like him one day. My heart exploded. Thank you Lord for bringing this jewel into our family. Her eyes saw Jacob with such acceptance. Before she knew her Uncle Jacob, God was preparing her to be gentle and sensitive to him. I hope we’ll make many, many more wonderful memories. I believe we will. But, I don’t know any can match her loving comment.
That night Mike sat with Jacob in a special needs section and we sat a couple of rows back. We could watch the show and see them clearly. It was such a great outing. The girls got to witness Jacob really having fun. He loved every part – the lights, the music, the skaters, the snow flurries. Smiling and enthralled. Enjoying the exact same thing they were enjoying. Aware that in some ways, he is much like them. I’d say Disney on Ice was a win for all of us!
I am proud to call Jacob my son. It seems, a certain teenager is proud to call him her uncle. And, I am certainly proud to call her my granddaughter.