Haircut Shortcut

When Jacob was a little tyke, I asked the gal that cut my hair if she would give him a trim. She knew enough to know it might be a challenge but was willing to give it a try. I don’t remember his age but he was small enough to sit on my lap. What I do remember was that it did not go well. For anyone in the salon. Was it so bad I blocked it from my memory? Nah. I just knew I didn’t want to put either of us through that again.

My sister-in-law had given me a lesson cutting hair using Mike as the model, in their parent’s carport, probably 40 years ago. I was comfortable cutting his hair so felt I could cut Jacob’s as well. It’s interesting because it does seem that fairly often I’ll hear of another parent, of a special needs child, taking on the barber role, too. Whatever it takes to reduce stress for our sons and daughters.

Somehow we managed. Even though scissors and a child flailing their arms, standing up and down, and twirling is downright dangerous. He was constantly trying to hold my hands to end the session. I’d create a space hoping to keep him somewhat occupied and entertained. A candle burning, a spinning toy, and music playing. The promise of chocolate. Sometimes I’d have to call in for reinforcement and other times I made it solo. I’d also let his hair get too long before making myself cut it and I’d cut it pretty short so we could go as long as possible in between.

Then a fella invented something quite unique. It would suck hair into a blade, cut it, and then the cut hair would be pulled through the hose into a vacuum cleaner. And the commercials did the trick making people want one, for 3 easy payments of $19.99!

Who ever heard of such a thing?

A haircut, no scissors, what do you mean?

Grab that vacuum cleaner with a hose,

Attach to the blade and spacer you chose.

Turn the machine on and wait for the buzz,

Prepare to be shocked with what that thing does!

The Flowbee hit the airwaves in 1988.

We were among the millions who took the bait.

Yes, Mike decided he would buy a Flowbee and then he could cut his own hair. And I decided surely it would be easier and safer to cut Jacob’s with a protected blade than pointed scissors! We had discovered a shortcut to his haircuts. And it worked for years and years and years. The only down side was the noise of the vacuum could be bothersome. And I did continue to use scissors some. Still it was better than the alternative.

Sometime last year, I decided to try regular hair clippers. We hadn’t tested that route and there were a lot of good options available. Downside– with every snip, hair is flying. Upside—much quieter than the Flowbee. And, ya know what? It worked really well. I continue to make it as appealing and pleasant as I possibly can, but he’s gotten to where he is a really good sport about it. I still let him get rather shaggy before snipping but it is only because it is easy to postpone.

So through the years, we’ve tried a hair stylist, yours truly, a Flowbee, and clippers. And we have a standby plan in our pocket if any of those were to fail us.

I’ve mentioned before about having neighbors in our home. It one of my favorite things to do because I value knowing the people around us and them getting to know Jacob and meet him in his territory. About a year ago, we hosted a neighborhood Walking Taco Party. In the group, there were three people attending that we had not met. As the evening wound down, we visited with the last remaining couple. I had met the lady, previously, but not her husband. And, I already knew she had some experience with special needs. As we spoke, I learned the man is a barber. He was asking questions about Jacob and explained that he has a number of special needs clients where he works his magic. I told him that I have cut Jacob’s hair for as long as I could remember. Then. Then, he said, “well if you ever need someone to cut Jacob’s hair, I’d be glad to be that person.”

In Jacob’s 40+ years I don’t recall an offer that has left me almost speechless. I was blown away. I kept playing it over in my head. Is that not the best kind of standby plan?!?!?! Thank you C for your genuine offer. I won’t forget it and one day, we will give you a call!

Even though Jacob wouldn’t volunteer to get his haircut, he obviously enjoys the end result. Because I go too long between trims and I cut quite short, it is really noticeable when he does get one. (As pictured above.) Without fail when he’s gotten a ‘fresh’ cut, someone will say something, “Jacob, you got a haircut!” “Jacob, I like your haircut!” “Jacob, you look so handsome!”

And I see the corners of his mouth turn up and his eyes twinkle. He’s feeling pretty good about himself which makes me feel pretty good, too!

A+ Appointment

It is accurate to say that through the years I dread every doctor or dentist appointment scheduled for Jacob. Sometimes that was unwarranted but, in the name of ‘that’s just what I do’, there is a certain amount of anxiousness leading up to visits.

When Jacob was really young I discovered, during an after-hours visit, that I liked a particular pediatrician better than the one we started with when he was a newborn. And so I changed doctors within a clinic. Would you believe our first one, Dr. A, actually phoned our home asking why I had changed? That was the beginning of realizing I couldn’t worry about hurting someone else’s feelings, I had to do what was best for our family. Dr. S and then later Dr. Y were a good fit and were as patient as the day is long with Jacob’s anxiety and my questions. Eventually, Jacob outgrew the Children’s Clinic and we realized it was time to go to a General Physician.

When he aged out, we talked to our family physician about seeing Jacob and he was more than willing. Dr. H is fantastic with Jacob. He puts us all at ease but Jacob is still a little nervous about being there. Doesn’t want to be touched or poked. Doesn’t want anyone looking in his ears. Checking his joints. You get the picture. Often, we have to be on either side of him just to hold his hands. I find myself singing quietly to him and assuring him it’ll be okay.

Thankfully, we don’t have to go often for illness as he doesn’t get sick a lot. And, Dr. H does everything he can to accommodate us. But, every few years a check-up is required and I watch the date on the calendar with apprehension building.

I don’t like sitting in a waiting room with sick people. Who does? But I especially don’t want to sit in a waiting room with Jacob. Even though he is mobile, we take him in his wheelchair as he feels safer and so do we. But in a waiting room, you get those questioning stares. And, even worse, you breathe unwanted germs. So we tag-team. One of us checks in while the other waits in the car with Jacob. Then when they call for him we move fast to get him out and through the waiting room quickly.

First stop is weight check. It’s interesting to watch Jacob step on the scales. He’s a good sport about it but there’s a degree of hesitation. Then to the exam room. Often he stays in his wheelchair for everything but the weigh-in.

Last month it was time for Jacob’s check-up. Here we go—this time Mike goes in to let them know we’ve arrived while Jacob and I wait in the van watching a DVD. Almost immediately Mike is returning to tell us to come on in. We did and they were ready.

He weighed and then wanted to walk to the room (rather than ride in the wheelchair) which was great. He sat quietly in a chair while the nurse asked us questions. He let her put a blood pressure cuff on him which was quite amazing. Dr. H came in followed by two students shadowing him. So in this tiny exam room with Jacob, there were, us two parents, one doctor, two students, and the nurse coming in and out. And would you believe he was PERFECT! Yes, Jacob gets at A+ for that appointment.

Not that I’m signing up for another check-up sooner than necessary but it was amazing how smooth and quick that one went. I am so very thankful for others who go the extra mile when that distance is just too much for us. We left with smiles on our faces and in our hearts for sure.

That morning as we were on our way to the clinic, I got a text from my mom: Praying for y’all and Jacob’s check-up. She knows. The clinic we’ve gone to for years, they know. And most importantly, God knows.

….. for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Matthew 6:8

Keyboard Inventory

If you’ve followed us long, you know that Jacob gets attached to certain things. It’s usually not a problem unless the ‘thing’ we are replacing doesn’t live up to the exact same standard as the original.

He has loved a keyboard for as long as I can remember. Some have been small portable toys that he could carry around, hold to his ear, and twirl to the music all through the house. Others were bigger ones needing a stand. In 1994 we bought his first large one and it lasted for years bringing him hours and hours of pleasure.

When it bit the dust, that particular model was no longer available. We settled on a similar Casio and although he did protest, he finally made the transition and accepted it fully. Once it ’wore out’ it was time for another search. A search that did not produce results! By then Jacob had strong, strong opinions and in his mind only one model will do.

We scoured Ebay and local Craigslist finding nothing. Finally, one day I found a keyboard in a nearby town that wasn’t exactly like the old one but hoped it would work for him. It had nice features and was in great shape. It looked like it was going to be fun!! And he hated it. (Sorry Yamaha.) He wanted nothing to do with it. Would not allow it to be left in his room. Out of sight!!

Typically it is the pre-programmed tunes that he listens to the most and so it makes sense if those songs are not identical to what he has been playing, it causes him stress. Maybe even alarm.

Back to finding an exact match and finally his super hero daddy did so. Life was good again in the keyboard category.

Until Jacob tore off a small button. One that neither of us, parents, knew its function. But Jacob did and even though he was the offender when it came to the button being gone, it was our job to find it and put it back in place. I’ve mentioned in another post about all the things I’ve done to try to make a new one. Check out that second picture of the button I made out of putty. Although it wasn’t going to make any connection, I was hoping he would be appeased. It didn’t last a day with you-know-who. We knew it might be time to start the search for another keyboard.

Jacob is rough on his ‘things’. By now he has destroyed the keyboard stand and we tried something we thought sturdier. Made of wood instead of molded plastic. He was able to splinter it as well.

Another keyboard was scored and a new stand was purchased. Life was good for my guy(s). The gallery of pictures above gives you a glimpse of how important a keyboard is for Jacob.

In Jacob’s zeal for putting his keyboard to the test, he recently has broken off keys. BROKEN. Not snapped where we can simply snap back in place. Broken. But funny thing is, he doesn’t seem to be too bothered by missing keys.

Knowing how hard it is to replace something that is no longer being manufactured, his dad decided we might should have a back up to expose him to for the day when our luck would run out on replacing his standard.

He now has two keyboards in his room. His favorite one with missing keys and his back up. When we first gave him the back up, he pretty much didn’t want it anywhere near him. But, every now and then we’ll hear him playing it. I think he is being sneaky because he doesn’t want us to know he might actually like it.

Seems he was rearranging his musical inventory and everything collided. (Those are his two keyboards along with his MP3 player.) One day this past week, I heard him coming down the hallway and he was carrying the back-up keyboard bumping the wall with every step. I quickly took it and he made it clear he didn’t want it in his room right then.

It takes some thought, research, and creativity to keep his inventory acceptable. We always have our fingers crossed that we are meeting his standards!!

Jacob 1 Mom 0

Dr. Seuss said it and now it’s my turn to repeat:

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.

We were in the middle of a chilly week here in the south. Cold weather adds a hindrance layer for us with Jacob. He won’t wear a hat or gloves. He is particular about which jacket suits him. I cringe when I see his bare feet on the cold ceramic tile floor but if he keeps taking socks off ….

This particular day was just as Dr. Seuss described it. But, I had not planned for us to sit in the house all day. Even though I am a home-body through and through, sometimes there are errands to run, work to be done, appointments to make, and places to go. So, I woke Jacob up and broke the news to him, “yes, you are going to SV today.”

And then continued on with our regular routine of getting him dressed and ready, with his stubbornness slowing me down. He did choose his royal blue shoes which I thought was a fun choice on a drab day. Only thing we lacked was getting a jacket on. Simple enough.

The jacket was in a basket in our bedroom where clean laundry was ready to be put away. When I picked up the jacket, he snatched it and threw it across the room. I was unfazed. He became obsessively interested in what was in his dad’s basket of clean clothes. One by one he picked up an article of clothing (which automatically unfolded it), examined it closely as if he’d never seen anything so amazing and then tossed it aside. Trying to be patient, but not wanting to refold laundry, I started insisting we get the jacket on and head out the door.

And, he started insisting we not! I’d get one arm in, with him spinning in circles, for him to jerk it out. We danced around with me determined he was wearing that jacket rather than be out in the cold and rain. Short story is, finally the jacket was on and zipped.

Once in the garage he wouldn’t get in the van. Often when that’s the case, I’ll sit in the driver’s seat until he decides he has stalled enough. I had to lock my door because his mission was to annoy me every way possible. Finally, after much crazy stuff in between, he climbed in the back as if to say, ‘alright, I’m ready to go.’

It was a ploy! That’s exactly what it was! I’m telling you my son cooked up a ploy. He would not let me fasten his safety belt, so I stepped out thinking I’d go back to my seat until he calmed down. He agreed that I’d had a grand idea and quickly climbed out as well. And as I made my way around the van, he quickly got into the front passenger seat.

The morning was not going so well. We are now 20 minutes into our garage stand-off. The front seat is never a good idea for him but I’d be insane to go anywhere with him riding shot-gun, particularly on a day like that!

I got out and told him to do the same. He wouldn’t. I knew there was little he could ‘bother’ where he was, plus he was safely in a closed garage (with his jacket on—for what’s it worth). I went in the house and texted his dad. “I didn’t take Jacob. He is currently sitting in the front seat of the van and I’m inside. He was awful for a solid 20 minutes and he finally got the best of me.”

I sat there stewing and 10 minutes later went back and told him to get out and come inside. “We are staying home today.” He complied. No surprise there. I basically warned him that I was in a bad mood, because of his actions, and he best make the most of getting to ‘sit in the house on the cold, cold, wet day’. Which was easy because it’s what we all want when there is such dreariness out the window.

I was mainly upset because he used negative behavior to get what he wanted and he won. I’m a sore loser.

I made a cup of hot chocolate with whipped topping needing a hug in a mug. You know what he did next? While sitting at my desk, enjoying my treat and getting some work done, he came over, leaned in and kissed me. Little rascal! How am I supposed to stay mad now?!?!

Death Grip

At bedtime, we ‘deactivate’ Jacob’s room. Turn his television off at a power strip. Put his MP3 player in his closet. Roll his keyboard out into the hallway. Check under the bed for miscellaneous toys and video tapes. Turn his overhead light off at the fixture. Lock his closet door. All of this is because we learned a long time ago that he might very well play all night if he had something to entertain him.

One night recently, after Jacob had gone to bed, I heard him playing with a toy. This particular night, we both had failed to check under the bed. As lights went out and we said, ‘good-night’, I imagine he probably waited until he thought we couldn’t hear and then happily pulled two toys out from under the bed. Both made by Leap Frog, a tree house with various singing creatures and a musical spinning ball.

Hearing a song, ‘Hey, I’m Lily, let’s sing!’, I eased his door open and there he was, sitting on the bed having a great time with a favorite toy. The tree house.

The ball was laying at the foot of the bed away from Jacob. I grabbed it and put it in the closet. One down, one to go. I reached for the tree house toy. It has a handle making it perfect to grasp tightly and hold on. Which he did with deceiving strength. For too long, I would reach for it and he’d quickly move it away from me. This went on for a few minutes. I was amused at how determined he was for me NOT to take it away from him. I was tempted to let him keep it but knew if I did, we would both pay for that mistake come morning.

Finally I got a good hold on it and was able to loosen his grip. While I moved toward the closet, he jumped off the bed and put both arms around me trying to keep me from opening the closet door. He had a bear hug squeeze on me for sure. I got to the closet, opened the door, dropped the toy in and locked the door.

All this time, Jacob has a death grip on me. Both of his arms around me squeezing with all his might. I was telling Jacob he needed to go to bed. And, trying to move toward his bedroom door. He continued to hold me with everything he had. I wasn’t sure if he didn’t want me to leave the room or he was hoping I’d give in and let him have the toy back.

Jacob isn’t a big fella but he is a strong one!! I felt like he was never, ever going to let me go. While I was wondering how long he’d hold me hostage, it was one of the best hugs I’ve ever gotten from him. Even if it felt like ’til death grip do us part.

Security Manager

One of the things about our home that is probably different from most of our friends, is that we often have interior doors locked. If a room is off-limits to Jacob, it is kept locked. That is basically all bedrooms except his own room.

Pictured below is why, my sewing/craft room should be locked! This particular day I discovered him sitting on the bed here, enjoying looking at a book. But, these forms of entertainment are only fun for so long!

Or it could be something that is harmless and he enjoys, such as pulling out every photo album in the house. It’s a shame that he can’t have access to those as he loves looking through pictures. He destroys the photo albums and it’s up to us to put it back together. Digital photo frames have been a great answer to allowing him to still enjoy photos without creating such a mess.

Watching for the next image.

Sometimes it’d be nice if we could lock our kitchen . You know those alarms on refrigerators when the door is left open? Seems they aren’t actually loud enough to alert us. We have rigged up refrigerator and pantry door locks from time to time. You just don’t think about what damage can be done when he has access to those.

Once we were outside and came in to the refrigerator door being wide open and our young golden retriever, Gracie, helping herself to a bag of grapes YES—I am FULLY aware of how dangerous that can be. And YES, we had to induce vomiting. Times like those make you understand the importance of either locking or don’t leave him unattended.

And then all the exterior doors are kept dead bolted as well. Out of habit we are constantly turning that deadbolt key. LINK: https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2019/01/17/run-away-pain/

He has started a new thing lately. As he walks through the living area, he checks the front door to be sure it is locked. Not only do we have the fear of him leaving the house unattended, but of him opening a door and one or both of our dogs heading to the street with him. I have no idea what prompted this security check but he is on it.

I like to think he has given himself to job of home security manager. He is constantly checking lights to be sure they are working and doors to be sure they are secure.

And if they aren’t, we’ll be notified either by him or the after effects of his checking! Anyone hiring?

Picked by God

December 2003

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.

July 1983

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

It's a Fact

These are just some of the fun facts about my boy.

Number of words he has ever spoken, 0
Number of soft drinks he has ever had, 0
Number of seconds before Jacob will put his arm down your shirt, .5
Number of siblings, 1
Number of broken bones, 1
Number of 5Ks Jacob has ridden in jogging stroller, 2
Number of adults programs he has attended, 2 Number of trips to Disney World, 3
Number of nieces, 3
Number of houses Jacob has lived in, 3
Number of fast food burgers Jacob will eat in one sitting, 4
Number of schools he has attended, 4
Number of pieces of cheese toast for a meal, 6
Number of hours for Jacob to drink a half gallon of Chocolate Milk, 6
Number of scrambled eggs he eats in a meal, 6
Number of mini chocolate candy bars allowed in one day, 6
Number of Disney Tunes Kidsclips toys in his stash, 10
Number of 1st cousins, 13
Number of years with same sitter, 30
Number of VCR tapes, between 75 & 100!
Number of miles Jacob has ridden on longest day trip, ~1200 to Denver
Number of pajama bottoms he has destroyed with his fingers, lost count.
Number of times he has walked into a room naked, I’ve tried to forget!
Number of mini chocolate candy bars he wants, too many to count!
Number of times my heart has exploded when I see his eyes search for me, Infinity!

Number of hairs on his head, only God knows. And you can be sure HE does!

Isn’t it great how God made us all unique, one-of-a-kind? You are a special masterpiece made by God. It’s a fact!

Bright Lights

A few days ago when I went to pick up Jacob, he was slow to get in the van. Kept circling it, tried to open the doors of the car parked next to me, just generally taking his sweet time. At one point, I said, “come on Jacob, get in, we’re going to go see Christmas lights tonight.” That was simple. He hopped right in. A staff member who witnessed this, even commented about I had said the magic words. (Too bad that won’t be an option again until next December.)

As promised, we took Jacob riding to look at lights. Leaving home, he wanted the DVD playing to watch a movie but was a good sport when reminded the purpose of the trip.

None of my pictures are like seeing the displays with your own eyes, but I’m only sharing to show a little of what brings my boy joy. These are within a few miles of our home.

He smiled and sang and twisted around to look again. It was about a two hour car ride that gave him many more minutes of memories to dream about.

Frankly, we have very few lights in and outside our home at Christmas. Jacob does have some lights in his room year ’round but it seems like the ones designated to Christmas decor never work like they are supposed to. In turn, we get terribly frustrated at what is supposed to be fun.

I’ve said the devil is in those strands of Christmas lights because they give us fits and bring out the worst in us! (It’s no wonder when you think about it though, devil and darkness go hand in hand!) And while I joke about satan’s role in the lights, remember only Christ brings the true light of CHRISTmas.

I cannot imagine having thousands, maybe millions, of lights to ‘take care of’ each year. Check for blown fuses, loose wires, clean connections, install/hang/inflate, run extension cords, weather proof, etc. It’s a job that takes months!! I can imagine this though, if you are one of those that has made it your yearly tradition to share the joy through lights, you deserve a major award in my books!! The lights cost you time and money. And probably some frustrations as well. But oh how they bring smiles for days to young and old.

Thank you for bringing bright lights in all colors, shapes, and sizes to Jacob’s life.

The Wonder of Christmas

That’s a phrase we hear often. And while Christmas can feel and seem magical to most anyone, wonder makes me think of a child’s excitement, their bright eyes, the element of surprise.

And even though we have a ‘man child’ and sometimes my expectations are that Jacob will exhibit that wonder, often Christmas comes with disappointment because it doesn’t feel like anything special for him. LINK: https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2018/12/27/preconceived-christmas/

The church we have attended for years, just celebrated 50 years of their Christmas production. FIFTY! It is one of those ‘can’t miss’ events for our area. It became so popular early on, that they have 5 presentations over 3 days to accommodate the crowds, even though the Sanctuary seats over 2000 people.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, crowds and Jacob don’t mix. But after seeing the Christmas program in the early 80s, we felt sure he would enjoy it. It is a mixture of secular songs, garland and twinkling lights, enormous Christmas trees, time tested Carols, and always a nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus.

At some point, a choir member friend suggested we bring Jacob to dress rehearsal. While it might not be as smooth as the first ticketed performance, he’d be able to experience a beautiful program catering to all the things he loves. And for several years, we did just that. And it never bothered him, or us, even once if they had to stop for a do-over of a certain piece. Jacob could squeal with delight or self stem and no one would notice or care.

Not surprising when anything good helps others, word of mouth spreads to the ease of attending dress rehearsal. The church became intentional about making that night easier for those that would have trouble standing in a line for an hour and sitting on a crowded pew. Senior adults and special needs folks were some of the main people a dress rehearsal’s atmosphere would welcome.

However, dress rehearsal started to get crowded and we started asking ourselves if it was still a good option. This year, Mike had the idea to take Jacob but sit up in the balcony. Obviously, it might not be ideal seating for some folks. I was even skeptical that Jacob could enjoy and feel all the excitement. But was open minded enough for us to give it a try. And I am so glad I did!! It was PERFECT! In all the years we have taken Jacob, he enjoyed it the most and so did we. There were a few times in the past, that we’d have to leave early. Not this night. It felt like this 270 voice choir was singing to an audience of ONE—my one and only Jacob.

Christmas with Jacob can be hard. Sad. Frustrating. Different. But that evening made it one of the best ever. It was happy and magical and filled with wonder.

He was mesmerized. I can’t explain the feeling of joy in my heart as I watched him watch the program. And what a program it was!! Toy soldiers, candles, ballerinas, trumpets, a bagpipe, shepherds, a manger, baby Jesus. Over 60 in the orchestra with that many on the drama team as well. It was spectacular in it’s presentation and simple in it’s message. Jesus came to earth, our greatest Christmas gift.

I was so proud of Jacob. I do believe I was the most relaxed I’ve ever been in a public place because he had his own space. The only moment he even started to fidget was when the pastor spoke briefly about the Christmas story. Jacob caught my eye and was waving toward the platform as if to say, “enough of that, get on with the show. MORE MUSIC!”

The show ended with a powerful rendition of Amazing Grace! Jesus came to offer us HIS amazing grace. May your heart embrace the greatest gift ever given this Christmas.