Saturday, February 28, 2015

 A decade of Jay

{He was standing on a small stool. Heaven help me - I am not ready for him to be this big yet. Objects in this picture are smaller than they appear. But not for long, I know. Not for long}

I gave him coffee on his tenth birthday.

He was up early and I was in that corner chair, the one that sees me through the rough days by being my morning foundation. There I spread out my Jesus Calling, my Bible, sometimes journal and dictionary. Next to the chair is my candle and phone with the music turned low.

He came down the stairs slowly and peeked out with a question. Because sometimes I might not be super welcoming when they start showing up before 6:45 am.

But he's ten today and there is nothing that could make him sleep later. 

I wink and go fill a red mug. Half coffee, half vanilla caramel cream. You only turn ten once.  We look at each other over our mugs in the dimly lit room.

Kid. If only you could feel the depth of my love for you. 

He pretty much has permanent red punch mustache. His hair is so long and thick. Too long. Last Tuesday night at karate his instructor said, "Jacob - don't look down. When you assume your position I want to be able to see your forehead. Wait. I'll never see your forehead. You need a haircut." And I totally giggled from my place on the sidelines.

I'm not fully awake as we enjoy silence together. Partial and broken up thoughts take turns running through my head.

I thought about a conversation we had initiated with the boys a few days earlier. It was about how much more important things become to you when you save up and buy them with your own money. How we tend to treasure that which we invest a part of ourselves into. When things are just given to us, when there is no struggle, when it's free, not worked for - well, we tend to just treat it a little differently.

My relationship with the boy in front of me was not/is not free.

Parenting him - sometimes it's like running a marathon.

In the dark.

On a narrow winding trail.

Made up primarily of legos.


But this last decade of my life - the one with him in it - it has been the decade that I have loved the most.

I see so many beautiful things in him. Oh, I do! Don't take the barefoot Lego analogy to mean it's all midnight mishaps with toys cutting my feet. Because sometimes I look into these eyes and I am speechless with the depth I see there.

No one can push my buttons like him. See, we push each others buttons, and we have from day one. We are both great works in progress. We are alot alike. And oh-so-much different. And we, in a sense, have paid for this relationship "with our own money". We cling to what we have because it has not been easily bought. It's precious. It's sacred. It's priceless. And it's forever.

God gave us this boy. The night before his birthday I had found all the photos of the red, squirming, screaming baby boy. And the tired looking mama. I looked close and examined the images. I remember not bonding immediately and feeling so helpless those first few months. But surely I must have miss-remembered. Because that sweet, soft, blond baby boy! He has my heart completely. It couldn't be as I vaguely remember.

But the confirmation came as I flipped through picture after picture. Yes. I held him and cared for him and stayed up countless nights meeting his needs while desperately wondering if the screaming would ever stop - and frankly if I would make it until it did.

And there he was as an obstinate 3 year old. That sparkle in his steel blue eyes firmly in place. Yep. My own money. 

5, 6, 7. This is when he mellowed out. And we laughed our way to tighter bonds and greater depths of understanding.

8 was hard. 9 brought tons of maturity.

10. Double digits seem so big. I am excited to see what this year will bring. He's still that mixture of little boy and young man.

He's the boy who wonders what will happen if he shoots his Nerf gun at the window and tries to negotiate everything.

He's the kid who will stand alone in a 4th grade classroom to champion  the idea of having children with special needs mainstreamed in the general ed classroom.

He's the kid with all the ideas and the compulsion to take All The Things apart.

He can bait his brothers to an epic fight, and stand up for them like a true hero.

He's our Jay. He's the one who makes our head spin.

He is creative, thoughtful, strong willed, and  he will change the world.

He jumps on the trampoline in his socks, when it is 30 degrees out.

He reads thick books by his bedside lamp long after I am already asleep.

He wrestles with perfectionism and hates to fail {hello mini me}.

He is physical and can nearly beat me in a circuit of burpees.

He is helping his daddy more and more with wood piles and snow shoveling. He is seeing the value in living beyond himself. He is struggling with doing things that are hard. And we are learning so much together.

Happy 10, Jay. My little fella in a wide world. Love you forever.

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