When your dad and I married, I wanted a house full of children. At the time, four seemed like a good number. We were young and I was definitely naïve. By Jacob’s first birthday, and it seemed something was wrong, that dream went on the back burner.
As we heard words like developmentally delayed, severely profoundly retarded, autistic, I became downright fearful of having another child. We went to a genetic specialist with one question in mind, what are our chances of us having another child with a disability?
In short, the answer was, the same as anyone else. The physician encouraged us to have another one if that was our desire. While I was positive I wanted another one, I was still terrified. One part of me was confident God would provide whatever we needed for our family. I guess the other part was afraid His provision would still be hard.
By Jacob’s third birthday I was pregnant carrying you.
That pregnancy was easy as far as the way I felt physically. It was HARD as far as emotions. Had I done something during the first pregnancy that ’caused’ Jacob’s disability? I tried not to worry but it was always on my mind and I peppered Dr. L with questions at every visit.
Because of that, by the time I went into labor, I had the attention of two doctors making sure the delivery went smooth which ultimately meant a c-section since your birth weight was 2 pounds more than Jacob’s.
The pressure was on, although, I hope you never felt it. I was always on the lookout for eye contact. Would you imitate us? Wave or play peek a boo? Cry when we left you with grandparents. Goodness, I looked for every indication that you were ‘normal’. Seemed I was looking for what Jacob was not.
All the things, and more, were accomplished on time, with flying colors, which did make me breathe easy.
And then you were growing up too fast. Remember the time I was at a parent/teacher conference and your elementary school teacher said there was only one thing that concerned her? You didn’t play with your peers on the playground for watching Jacob to make sure he was okay. While we never suggested you keep an eye on him, you naturally felt that was your job.
Once I overheard your best friend (when y’all were probably 10 years old) say, “why doesn’t Jacob talk?”, to which you calmly and quickly replied, “because that’s the way God made him.” I’m thankful that was your reaction and that your group of childhood friends seemed to adopt that as well.
It wasn’t long you were placed in the ‘gifted program’. Without realizing it, I suddenly felt like I had something in common with other parents. That was a wonderful and new feeling. Before we felt isolated and alone. Like no one could possibly understand what our daily life looked like. Finally, we were in a group of parents that could compare notes. Notes on expectations, parenting, discipline, homework, all the normal things.
Thank you for being an easy child to parent. I don’t believe I ever said something like, just wait until you’re a parent! I can only remember one incident that you were so frustrated at us that you ‘showed out’. I sure don’t recall the offense but can’t forget your empty threat, “fine, I just won’t go play at youth group tonight!” Like we were going to be devastated when you didn’t go do what we knew you looked forward to doing weekly. There was the ongoing conversation of me telling you that when you are paying for electricity, you can have your room the temperature of an iceberg!! I really can’t put that in ‘being a difficult child’ category though.
It seemed your behavior was in line with—my parents have enough on their plates. I’ll not rock the boat. I hope we never imposed that on you but you were smart and could read between the lines.
Thank you for being YOU! Willing to be our eyes to watch your brother. Willing to hang out with him so we could do something with friends occasionally. Not afraid to be different from the crowd. Kind and considerate. Sensitive to the core. Overflowing with compassion. You could probably identify with oldest, middle, youngest, and only children during different stages of your life. By our family dynamics you had to assume that role. Maybe that is why you are so well balanced! No matter what, where, or when, you took everything in stride.
We are so incredibly proud to call you our son. Completely in awe of the brother, man, husband, father, friend, and creative genius that you are. I’ve wanted you to have it all. I think you already do.
Love you deep and wide,