Jacob’s Mamaw celebrated her 92nd birthday this week. She has been a widow for 27 years. The last several months have been extremely hard on her. She has a sitter for 30-40 hours a week to keep her company and help meet her needs. In the past, when we’ve suggested a sitter, she would always balk and say she didn’t want or need anyone staring at her all day!
Here’s where Jacob comes in as her companion sitter also stays with him one day a week. He is their common bond. Jacob is the key to her heart and the ticket to the sitter being accepted. Which means the sitter staring at her all day became a moot point.
Often their daily talks revolve around Jacob. While dementia has set in and Mamaw lives in the past more than the present, her heart clearly remembers Jacob. Usually the sitter has a current photo of Jacob on her phone and that will spark conversation. Recently, it was recorded and this is how it went (sitter’s comments in parenthesis):
Mike and Terri take up a lot of time with Jacob. (Yes, they do.) And, that’s why God gives special kids to special people (mmmm hmmmm). And, He chose them when he got ready to send Jacob out, for them to get him because they would take care of him. (Yes ma’am, they take good care of him.) Anybody else would have put him in a home and left him there. (No, Jacob is WELL taken care of.) I know. (Yes, ma’am.) Growing up, they went through everything trying to care for him. A lot of people would have stuck him in a home and forgotten about him but they didn’t. (No, they didn’t.) So, God picks His special people.
Note: Mamaw was a young adult in the 50s when it wasn’t unusual for children with disabilities to be institutionalized. I cannot imagine and thankfully it wasn’t common practice by the 70s, but explains her thinking.
It’s probably no surprise, the onset of tears that followed when I received this recording. Mamaw has had tough, tough days and we’ve heard her say things that we know aren’t really ‘her’ talking. But, without a doubt, this was her speaking from deep in her heart. If you could have heard it, you’d have heard conviction in her voice. She spoke with strength and without hesitation. It reminded me of the grief our parents felt when they heard words like mental retardation and autism describe Jacob. And how, as a parent, you’d do whatever you could to keep your child from experiencing pain and heartache.
And another day, Mamaw talking about Jacob:
I hate it so bad. He’s really a sweet, lovable boy. He’s just all messed up but you know, that’s God’s will. God knows he’s like that and He is taking care of him. We have to respect that. Mike and Terri were two people that were chosen to give him to because they could do what was right.
She has suffered a lot and we would give anything to make her days better. Yet, without knowing, she made my day 100% better. Her confidence in God’s perfect plan was an inspiration and precious reminder.
See, God gives special people to us in the shape of parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. And, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Family. In their own ways, they bless, support, and encourage us. Yes, our family tree was designed, picked, watered, and pruned by God. And it is perfect in all it’s beauty.
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”Proverbs 16:9