Map of Jack

Jack’s birthday is winding to a close. I always feel like a fraud of a mom when people ask me what we are doing to celebrate and I say, “Eating Hostess cupcakes and handing the birthday boy a new vacuum.”

It’s not Pinteresty. It’s effectively the anti-Instagrammed child’s birthday party. It doesn’t look pretty, yet it’s all the stuff he likes without the meltdown potential of a party.

Jack’s birthday is usually a sad, faded kind of day for me, with bits of brightness around the edges. Like a map of the world, I guess, with saturated outlines and pale, shaded countries and oceans.

It’s a day when his differences feel as big as the Pacific.

His birthday makes me ponder his life and our lives, and inevitably it gets emotional.

It’s not that this day takes me back to his birth or the hard, uncertain years that followed it. It doesn’t. I’m too mired down in the right now to devote much energy to remembering the early days.

I guess it just seems like this day should be really happy.

And yet, it is another difficult day when Jack spit out his medicine, kicked someone at school, got naked on the trampoline, and pooped in both his bedroom and the bathtub.

I had a conversation this morning with someone about group homes, and the possibility of Jack one day living in one. Not really the sort of thing you pic-stitch and proudly post on all your social media platforms.

Jack has made his parents and his brothers into new people. This is his gift to us. His life teaches us about hope. Because of him, we know gentleness, kindness, and the deepest meaning of love. Jack puts the trappings of daily life into perspective, reminding us that things are only ephemeral things.

My second son’s tenth birthday reminds me that he and I are two fragile beings with a long journey to make around this giant globe of wild terrain.

We are small and limited, and we still have a long way to go.

  8 comments for “Map of Jack

  1. Louise
    May 17, 2014 at 5:58 am

    This is beautifully said.

  2. Ann Cannon
    May 17, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Love to you and yours.

  3. Blue
    May 17, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Hi Beautiful,
    is there anything about you that isn’t just pure loveliness? From your writing to your wisdom to your amazing hair to your sweet perspective. I just adore you.

    Hope we see each other soon! ♥

  4. May 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm


  5. Kerri
    May 19, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Love you. And why don’t you still live around the corner from me??????

  6. May 19, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I am a friend of Ann Cannon’s and came on her recommendation. I am so happy I did. Thank you for this wonderful post. Never stop writing, never stop finding the positive…I feel great love for your child, and for you.

  7. Vivian
    May 20, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    So pure and truthful. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Blue
    May 16, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    two years later and my sentiments have only deepened. you are wonderful. xo

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