The Next Room

Yesterday marked four weeks since I had shoulder surgery. It was the second time on my dominant side making it all the more frustrating. It had been 21 years since the first time and neither of us had much recall of what that period was like as far as what I was or wasn’t able to do and how much Mike had to pitch in.

By the time surgery rolled around, I had worked up such a dread because I could remember how difficult it was to sleep post-op and the long process to rehab my shoulder.

This time would be different in that we’re retired. Hopefully it would make my recovery easier on us as whole.

Mike had to take my place. Instead of being on house arrest, Mike put me on bedroom arrest. Yes, I was quarantined for my protection. Having an arm in an immobilizer and being terribly sore, was not a combination that Jacob could respect or understand well.

I knew there would be things I’d need to let go of for a time. Jacob being clean shaven. Crooked clothes. A chocolate smudge or juice stain.

But, what I had not thought about, would be hearing what happens in the next room. One evening as I sat in the recliner, shoulder iced down and reading, I could hear Mike and Jacob. We were separated by a wall. It was really special hearing them and did my heart good. Mike was singing, “you get a line, I’ll get a pole, we’ll go down to the crawdad hole…” to entertain Jacob. I enjoyed the one-sided conversation as he offered Jacob different options to eat – breakfast pizza, brownies, banana bread.

I heard silverware rattling and knew it was the sound of the dishwasher being loaded. He was in the thick of it – doing everything involved in taking care of Jacob from the beginning of the day until lights out. He left the kitchen clean every evening, kept up with laundry, vacuumed, gave our golden retrievers a bath, delivered breakfast to me, and made sure I got meds on time and had ice ready to go.

Mike didn’t know that I had been listening to my guys. Wanting to be in the middle of them myself. I don’t do well being on the sideline. Often I would watch Jacob via the monitor in his room. I really, really missed him.

More than once Mike suggested I fire him from his position. He had job security whether he wanted it or not! No way was I going to find a replacement.

Within a couple of weeks, he was making tuna salad, meat loaf, and spaghetti. He mumbled under his breath that he might like cooking – with direct supervision. He even made Jacob brownies for his birthday!

I didn’t like being on bedroom arrest. But I never once wondered about my boy’s well-being. It allowed me to focus on my recovery. And, the blessing of a really good caretaker.

Mike earned an A+ from me all the while I sat in my recliner in the next room. A high grade doesn’t mean all that much to my man but maybe it will stop him from threatening a one minute notice rather than a two week. All in fun!

Dear Jacob

July 1st, forty-two years ago, I got a card. 

If not today, one day very soon, you’ll know the joys of being a mother. Happy Birthday, Terri. We love you so very much,

Mom and Dad

Jacob’s due date was close to my birthday.  He wasn’t born that day but a week later.  Tomorrow is my firstborn’s birthday.  And I have, without a doubt, experienced the joys of motherhood with two amazing sons.

My Dear Jacob,

You became my world. Your well-being was my number one priority.  Every, EVERY first-time parent understands that no amount of reading, classes, observation, etc. could possibly prepare me for all that went along with being your mom.

I will never forget you being placed in my arms. The wonder and miracle that you belonged to me. The gamut of emotions: LOVE, fear, worry, excitement, doubt, nervousness …. I felt them all plus more. Mostly smitten, in love.

Colic was hard on both of us.  I called the pediatrician’s office so many times, it became embarrassing.  I thought about changing my name.  Felt the nurse was thinking, ‘oh, it is HER again’! 

The pure bliss of watching you sleep on your daddy’s chest.  Thanking God for the best gift on earth.  

I can still picture the first time you giggled.  I was holding you in my lap while sitting on the bed and gently bouncing you.  Your back was up against my stomach and you could see yourself in the mirror and you GIGGLED!  It was the best.  From that moment on, as crazy as we must have appeared, the mission was to repeat it.  Parents are funny that way. 

I remember taking you to the mall for a picture when you could barely sit up and the photographer going on and on about your beautiful eyes.  She was right and I was beaming. 

Never uttering a word but babbling dadadadadadada.  Oh how I lived to hear you speak.  I cannot imagine how difficult it is to live in a world where you can’t.  The good news is you will one day.  When we are in heaven together.  I cannot wait to have a conversation with you.

You have been my teacher:  1) take your time, rushing doesn’t help you get anywhere faster.  2) patience is indeed a virtue. 3)  don’t judge others.  4) be yourself. 5) what matters most cannot be seen. 6) enjoy the music. 7) find things that make you smile. 8) don’t try to impress others.

You have made me a better person.  And, changed me and the world without trying. Your smile makes my day. Every. Single. Time.

I wish for you joy and contentment.  Peace and security.  To know and feel the everlasting love of God.  Prayers you will have tender loving care your entire life.  As much as I want the very best for you, it is our Heavenly Father who will make sure it happens. 

Happiest of birthdays sweet Jacob.

I love you so much it hurts,

Mom

Even If

On October 27th of this year, we got some news that was difficult to process. I hinted at it in the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ blog post. I asked my man (husband and Jacob’s daddy), Mike, if he might sum up his thoughts about his cancer diagnosis and this is what followed:

Getting a diagnosis of cancer is never a good feeling but when you are an old senior like me, it can’t be the same as when a young person gets the diagnosis.

I will say that for me, the news was not even a close second in sadness to the news we got from Dr. C. Tardo in 1980 that Jacob was autistic. That he would probably never walk or talk. I would think any parent would feel the same way when they receive really bad news on their child. Whether it be death, illness, etc.

A lot of things go through your mind when you get the word. One good thing is you start trying to live in the moment since that’s all any of us have. The cancer will hang on to you for the rest of your life with you potentially worrying if it has come back or not. But in reality, we all have death waiting in the corner to have his chance to get you. I always tell people this life is short and is preparation for the next life. Our real life.

Anyway, below is a conversation I may or may not have had with the Lord when I got my diagnosis of chordoma cancer:

Me: Why me, Lord?!
Lord: Why not you, Mike?
Me: Was it so all my friends, family, and people I don’t know could pray for my healing and we could rejoice and give glory to you when you healed me?
Lord: No Mike, that’s not why.
Me: Was it so I can deal with having cancer and show people how to give glory to you while in the midst of the trial?
Lord: No Mike, that’s not why.
Me: Then why Lord,?
Lord: Mike, this cancer is personal between you and me. I want to know if you will love me, even if.
Me: Even if?
Lord: I want to know if you will love me even if I don’t cure you of cancer.
Me: I’m 66 years old, have enjoyed living all these years Lord. No problem, yes, I will still love you if you don’t heal me.
Lord: Careful Mike. If I take you by this cancer, it will mean your long time prayer to take care of Jacob ALL of his life will be answered with a No. Will you still love me, even if?

We all have an “even if”. What is yours?

I hope I prove faithful to the Lord.

Help at Home

 

Stuffed Bell Peppers; BBQ with *Baked Beans, Potato Salad, and Rolls; Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Deviled Eggs and Slaw;  Chicken Parmesan with Steamed Green Beans and Green Salad;  Fried Chicken with Green Beans, Turnip Greens, Rice and Gravy, Fried Green Tomatoes, Squash Casserole.  Deer Sausage. Watermelon,  fresh picked blueberries, fresh tomatoes, bananas.  Plus, *brownies, almond cake, cookies, more *brownies, pound cake. 

Does that make you think of a family reunion?  It does me!  But that’s not the case here.

I’m two weeks post-op from my third rotator-cuff repair surgery.  Second on my dominant side.  It was obvious 5 months ago that I’d experienced another tear. Lots of tears were shed between then and now knowing the reality would involve a hard fix. 

Here’s the thing, the How to Prepare for Rotator Cuff Surgery manual had a long list of what to expect.  Things to do before, day of surgery, and things to do after.  Top of the list of after-surgery guidelines:  YOU WILL NEED HELP AT HOME. 

No problem.  Mr. Man signed up. 

What I wasn’t prepared for was the out-pouring of help from others.  Since surgery, over two dozen families have served us.  Loved on us so beautifully. 

Evidenced by that long list of amazing food!  The three of us have eaten so very, very well. *Jacob ate more than his share!!  And it made me so very happy!

Mike is thinking I need to have surgery more often!  He is kidding.  He BETTER be kidding!  The last 12 months have brought on too much as it is. Yet, over and over again friends and family have been the hands and feet of Christ. 

Besides all of the mouth-watering food delivered to our front door, we received calls, texts, gifts cards to local restaurants, big surprises, and little happies.  More offers of meals. And cards, many beautiful cards.  Two friends sent sweet cards (pictured) saying, “I thought Jacob might like this card, too.”  And he did! 

Sometimes, it’s awkward being on the receiving end of a blessing.  Even when you need help. Years ago, a precious Sunday School teacher I had, talked about something similar.  When sometimes pays you a compliment or does something nice for you, don’t feel like you have to deny or make them feel as if they shouldn’t, because it is undeserved.  Instead, receive it as a beautiful flower and at the end of the day, take your bouquet and offer it up to God.  He is the giver of all good things. 

Whether it’s a meal or offering an ice machine I’d need for aftercare, it is easy to say, I’m fine. We’re fine. That is often my first response. I’m reminded that serving others is a win-win. With the exception of a couple, I would not know these families if not for Jacob. What a gift they have been to us through the years. 

I look forward to being able to pay it forward one day.  It brings me great joy to do for others.  Maybe this will give you ideas of how you might help a family in need (NOT US – we really are good!).  If I’m making brownies for others, I’ll need to hide them from Jacob first.  Or make a double batch. 

Unpredictable

We’d had company over the weekend.  Jacob had been quite good while they were here but obviously happy for things to return to ‘normal’ once they left. 

He woke on his own that Monday morning, took his medicine, got dressed without a struggle, and was ready to go to his day program.

Heading in pretty quickly, he got to the entrance at the same time a few other people arrived. That caused him some angst.  It seemed he handled it fairly well and was going to be okay.  I backed out of the parking space and looked up to see Jacob hurrying out of the building.  Oops.  His daddy was with me so he jumped out to steer him back inside.  Only Jacob wasn’t interested.  They wrestled some and Mike backed off and gave Jacob some space.  It took a few minutes and Jacob did a little exploring but finally went in the building and we breathed a sigh of relief. 

Those mornings, I half-way expect a call that Jacob is having a rough day.  That almost never happens.  But I’ve rarely seen him try to leave as soon as he got there.

It was impossible to know what was going on in that sweet mind of his. He is unpredictable, if anything, and it reminded me of two afternoons about four years ago. These were the Facebook posts.

February 2017

Jacob ran from me this afternoon and ran toward the street going in front of the other building.  The manager and nurse happened to see it play out and joined me in trying to head him off. He sat on the ground between the parking lot and street and was very uncooperative.  It seemed like hours but we were able to finally get him loaded. 

Before I got out of parking lot, he unbuckled his seat belt so I stopped and put the safety clasp on. 

As we turned into our neighborhood, he shimmied under the seat belt and proceeded to attack me from behind.  Pulling my hair, clothes, and arms.  I was afraid we’d wreck before I could get to our home. 

Twelve days later

Upon picking Jacob up he didn’t want to get in the van, but instead went toward the business next door.  As I attempted to veer him to our van, he hurried toward the street.  While I tried to get a good solid hold of him, he put his arm down the front of my shirt.  I was able to free myself from him and move him in the correct direction.  He then put his arm down the back of my shirt and got a hold of  the hem.  I really thought he was going to pull my shirt off then and there for all the world to see. It was soooooo terribly frustrating. 

Thankfully two staff members, J & T came to my rescue and the three of us got him secure and ready to go.

If you’ve ever been around Jacob and gotten too close, you have probably experienced him put his hand down your shirt. It has nothing to do with wanting to touch you and everything to do with venting his frustration or wanting to frustrate you. And, speaking for myself here, he is successful every time.

Thankfully, we’ve seen less and less of that behavior. Last week, the manager saw me drop him off and walked out to speak. She proceeded to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed Jacob’s return to the program. How several staff members had commented that he has been more calm, cooperative, and social. It was such a blessing to hear those words.

They echoed in my mind last week when Jacob put his hand down his dad’s shirt on the morning he exited so quickly. I was so appreciative of the timely encouragement that came just a few days before.

His unpredictable behavior is always going to be part of Jacob. Even when we ‘feel’ it coming and brace ourselves. There are days, he seems to have the upper hand.

It sure is great to know that he has way more good days than rough mornings or crummy afternoons.

Thank you Lord, that you never change. We can trust your presence even in the midst of unpredictable moments.

Dad’s Day

Being the creature of habit that Jacob is (admittedly, I’m the same), he notices when something is different. 

Most days that he attends his day program, his dad and I take and pick him up together.  If it turns out that only one of us can, he will do a double-take as he exits the building.

Last week, Mike had an afternoon appointment so I was running solo.  Jacob came out of the building and looked in the driver’s window and I could tell he was wondering why I was picking him up alone.  He got in the van fine and was compliant on the way home.  When we went inside, he did a quick room-to-room survey.  Once he’d made it through the house, he did a U-turn and headed to the garage. 

I watched to see what he could possibly be doing.  Sweet buddy, opened the side door and got in.  I was following bewildered that we had just gotten home and he was getting back in the van.

He was waving wanting me to buckle him up when it dawned on me.  His daddy wasn’t part of the pick-up team.  He assumed he was home.  He wasn’t.  I do believe Jacob thought we needed to go get him.

When I explained that Mike would be home in a couple of hours, Jacob accepted my answer and went back inside. 

It was really special and funny at the same time. 

Not long after that, Mike was actually out of town for an overnight trip.  I got Jacob ready for bed following our usual nightly routine.  Right before we were doing lights out, Jacob jumped up, pulled his window blinds aside, and peered out.  You guessed it, looking for his daddy’s car! 

He might be getting tired of me!

In honor of Father’s Day, from Jacob to his dad:  I’m so happy you are mine and I’m your Cooter Bug. You are the very best daddy!  I’m lucky that I get to live with you.  Thank you for being my best friend!  I love you so much!!

Dear Josh

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,

Mom

Bumps, Bruises, Breaks

If you are a parent, you have memories of your young child falling and getting a huge goose egg on their forehead.  I imagine every parent has that story.  Fell on the brick hearth, fell down the stairs, etc.  To watch that bump turn into something bigger hurts and can be alarming. 

Then, as the toddler gets older, they come to you with their boo-boo.  Always funny how a band-aid makes even the tiniest spot all better.  Those marketed toward kids are especially fun.

In the blog post One Tough Cookie: https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2020/04/30/one-tough-cookie/, I told the story of getting him ready one morning many years ago to discover some awful scrapes on his arm.  They were red and looked painful.  I was totally puzzled over the how. 

It was so bothersome that we installed a camera in his room.  It was so long enough ago that it was a hassle to use and pull up images on our computer.  Thankfully, technology has given us more efficient tools now. 

A constant source of unease for me will be a bump or bruise that appears on sweet Jacob.  I continue to watch for those and continue to rarely know the cause.  I wish he could tell me what happened, how it hurt, then let me kiss it and make it better. 

Nineteen years ago we sued the public school system where Jacob was enrolled.  It all started when I was getting him ready for bed one November evening in 1999.  There were horrible bruises and contusions on both arms from shoulder to elbows. Photos that are hard to look at so I’ll not share here.

Come to find out a special ed teacher’s aide, had dragged Jacob down the school hallway. 

It was hard enough when he broke his collar bone at the same school with no witnesses but this, this was truly gut-wrenching. 

Not wanting another family to face abuse at school, we filed a lawsuit.  The amount was exorbitant.  It was all about getting the attention of the school district.  Hoping to pay the attorney, get the aide fired, and secure a monitoring system for parents to see their children in the school via home computers. 

In the end, the lawsuit was dismissed.  Sovereign immunity for the school system was their defense  They argued the abuse was not intentional and never admitted guilt.  Sadly, we weren’t the only family that had been hurt at the hands of this aide.  And he remained at the school after the incident which was equally as disturbing.  It felt like they turned their heads while protecting staff more than their most vulnerable students. 

Bumps and bruises are part of life.  Unfortunately, sometimes so are broken bones.  Accidents happen every day. But when any or all of those come at the hands of a person paid to help and protect your non-verbal child, it is the worse kind of stab. 

I hope no one reading this has had to realize their child has been abused.  It was a nauseating nightmare.  And there was absolutely no way I could kiss and make it better.  It haunted me. I wondered if it haunted Jacob.

During the process, we had an amazing support group.  Our families and our friends.  Notes like these were what helped me ‘hold it together’ during the trial. 

Why am I talking about such hard stuff?  This past weekend I was chatting with a friend.  Applauding her transparency in difficult circumstances they had been through with their child.  In conversation, she said, “when you are going through hard times, it feels like you are alone.  I share because it may help others who are facing something similar.”

Know that no matter how horrific your situation may be, there is probably someone going through something harder.  And when you are on the other side of the pain, be the helping hand they need.  Show kindness and grace.  Do something to encourage and remind them that they are not alone. 

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

1 Peter 3:8

Focus on These Things

In the midst of our #shelterathome period, I was connecting weekly with a small group of friends.  In the beginning, it was via zoom meetings and then later we switched to FaceTime group calls.  During that time we covered a tiny book by Max Lucado called Less Fret, More Faith, An Action Plan to Overcome Anxiety.   If ever there was a time to tackle anxiety, 2020 seemed to be the year.  Right? 

We had a boatload of ’what-ifs’ on our minds. So much stuff to weigh us down. Create anxiety. And, what better place to unpack those than with non-judgmental friends using the word of God as our lighthouse. A whole lotta life has been shared as well as much laughter, sometimes grief, plus happy and sad tears.

Holding on to anxious thoughts actually creates depression in me.  Maybe it does in you, too.  If so, you are not alone! That certainty of a coming storm.  An impending doom that clouds every thought, all movement.  A voice speaking negative thoughts getting louder and louder.  Realizing it is my own internal self-talk capable of causing the most pain.

“Thoughts, whether positive or negative, grow stronger with repetition.”   

Charles Swindoll

When you are overcome with the what-ifs, know God has power over EVERY detail.  No. Matter. How. Small.  If you will  give your anxiety, frustrations, disappointments, and fears to him, he WILL give you what you need for that minute, hour, day. 

More than once, on a Thursday when a blog would go live, something would occur that magnified the very subject of that post. The last time that happened was when It is Going to Be Good was published: https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2021/04/22/it-is-going-to-be-good/

It was one of those days that Jacob wasn’t happy. I had trouble getting him ready. He was the opposite of cooperative. I was in tears before heading to his day program. I wasn’t convinced it was going to be good.

Part of my anxiety was knowing I had just said to the world, “setting my face to see God’s hand—it is going to be good”.  In that hour, I was overcome and truly had trouble taking my own advice.  I was wallowing in my self-talk, “you need to practice what you preach”.  In all honesty, it was a rough morning and took the better part of the day for me to shift my focus from poor me.  To let go of what was bothering me and give it to God.

Here is the deal: I do not believe Jacob set out to give me a hard time. He is human and not perfect but he is also autistic. Often, what appears to be his determination to give me grief and ruin my morning is not about or against me at all. It is because he is struggling. He is having a hard time. He doesn’t know how to express a feeling. It is all he can do right then.

Lucado asks:

Are you laughing less than you once did?

Do you see problems in every promise?

Would those who know you best describe you as increasingly negative and critical?

Do you assume that something bad is going to happen?

Do you dilute and downplay good news with doses of your version of reality?

Many days would you rather stay in bed than get up?

Do you magnify the negative and dismiss the positive?

Given the chance, would you avoid any interaction with humanity for the rest of your life?

If so, focus on these verses from God’s word:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 

Philippians 4:4-8
 

Oh, that I could be quick to take a deep breath and remember God gives me today.  I don’t have to do it on my own.  Neither do you.

Literally

One day last week we kept Jacob home from his day program because of a predicted Severe Weather Alert day.  Rain isn’t so bad but when there is a chance of tornados, home is where I want him.  For his sake and others.  It would be pretty miserable for everyone hunkered down in a hallway. Because, he doesn’t do hunker very well.

We were under a Tornado Watch for most of the day. But, by mid–afternoon, the local sirens started sounding and we were getting notifications on all devices.  Tornado Warning!  Take cover now. 

Jacob was living his best life on a pajama day until the sirens went off. I quickly changed his clothes and made sure he had on socks and shoes. 

I grabbed a couple of toys as we directed him toward our safe space.  His dad and I were reassuring him that everything would be alright and we’d all be together.  Both of us saying things to encourage his cooperation. 

He was really good considering we were in a closet.  Played with a toy, twirled around, sat on the floor, and wanted out, all in a short span of time while we watched radar for the warning to be lifted. 

Thankfully, it passed by us quickly and we felt comfortable going about the day.  Jacob had other plans.

As he left the closet, he grabbed my purse.  Sometimes he does that and hands it to me, meaning—’it is time for you to go’.  This time was different.  He was in charge of the purse but wanted the three of us in the garage. 

I could not figure out where his determination came from in leaving home.  Then his daddy made sense of it. Remembering what he said while trying to get Jacob to move into the closet, ‘it’ll be like we are going camping’.  Knowing we could lose power, we’d be in close quarters, and Jacob enjoys going camping (in a cabin), it was what popped into his mind.  And sharp Jacob, he heard that and waited patiently for the tornado to pass so he could go camping!

Bless his sweet heart—that was the very thing he was thinking about while we were trying to see if a tornado was aiming our way.  I love how he has total trust in us to keep him safe.  He also had a plan for when the threat was over. 

Once our best guess helped us realize what was going through his mind, we distracted him and he went about playing as usual.  

Recently a kind man asked if Jacob absorbs things. Indeed. He. Does. He may appear to be in his own world but he is processing every word. Pretending isn’t something that makes sense to Jacob.  A reminder that he listens and he plans.  And we need to plan, too.  Literally.