Jack did not nap until he was 14 months old. That was not fun. But he made up for his crabby, exhausted babyhood with early development in a few areas that amazed and delighted us. For example, he used baby sign language from a ridiculously young age.
Above his changing table was a mobile made of origami cranes. Every time I changed his diaper, I would give the mobile a swing, and the paper cranes would swoop and swirl above his head. Jack made up a sign for “bird” that let me know he wanted to see his birds, or any bird for that matter. It was a little wave of the wrist, hand held high, and he did it OFTEN.
On that same changing table, at 7 or 8 months, he spoke his first word, “bird.” I videotaped it for daddy at work so he would believe me. No worries there, because once Jack started talking, he never stopped. And spelling, and rearranging the letters of the alphabet forward and backward, and sounding things out—like the word “semaphore” in 3-year-old preschool. At the time, I had no idea what a semaphore was. Jack filled me in.
Thus started the circus act of “Mommy and Jack,” as I proudly showed people all the amazing things he could do. He seemed so mature for his age, doing intricate puzzles and mazes, and building things. It wasn’t until later that I realized that while those things came so easily to him, other things didn’t, such as transitioning from one activity to another, handling disappointment, or staying quiet in class.
The realization that my beloved wonder-child was not perfect rocked my world. It helped me to quit being so smug and judgmental of other people’s parenting, to consider that other people struggle in ways we cannot see, and to be more accepting when baby #2 came around with her own distinct personality.
My inward celebration that I had hit the jackpot (the jackpot!!!) with my 2 particular kids never once slackened, but my heart did grow bigger, and I’m thankful to Jack for that. And so grateful that time and perseverance helped Jack grow into himself-- a smart, funny, caring, likeable 12 year old boy who loved God, his family, and his friends.
In those early years, we spent a lot of time bonding with babies and mommies in our home and at the park. This daily time together kept everyone sane. One of those dear mom-friends, in setting out to write our family a sympathy letter, instead wrote us an incredibly beautiful poem, and I’m honored to share it with you here:
“Bird” he signed,
Pudgy fingers fluttering.
We marvel and clap.
“Bird” he spoke,
“Starts with B”. So smart, so young.
We wonder and smile.
”Bird!” he yelled.
Too loud for the classroom rules.
We correct and sigh.
“Bird”, he imagined,
In stories, games, and colored bricks.
We admire and dream.
“Bird”, he joked
With apt and joyful humor.
We recall and laugh.
“Bird!”, he declaimed,
Confident upon the stage.
We bravo and beam.
“Bird” he became.
Why must he fly home so soon?
We call out and grieve.
“Bird” we weep,
“Come back here! You’ve flown too high.
We cannot see you!”
“bird”, he whispers,
“Let my wings enfold your heart.
We will meet again.”
Wow. That was beautiful.
* tears *
Truly beautiful. Truly.
Wow. That's beautiful.
A very beautiful poem. After reading your post I went back and read more. Please know that you are all in my thoughts. You write so beautifully and I can only imagine that although it must be incredibly painful to write, it is such an amazing tribute, a testimony to your strength, and deep never-ending love for Jack.
Tears... what a beautiful poem. Ada
This poem has me in tears. So beautiful.
Beautiful poem about your beautiful son. Thank you for sharing it with us Anna!
That is probably the most beautiful poem I have ever read. Still thinking of you and your family every day.
Wow that's a beautiful, beautiful poem. It is perfect.
Normally, I am not a fan of poetry (call me a literary curmudgeon), but I would like this one even it it weren't for Jack. Since it is?
That is so beautiful. I'm crying… xo
Someone is very talented! What a beautiful poem. After hearing your story about Jack this fits perfectly.
Tears....a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing, and thank you to your friend for her words.
that is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a special poem.
Wow. What a gift that poem is for all of us. Your post helped me get the poem and see Jack more vividly.
Jack-pot. Priceless word!
Love. Love. Love.
What a wonderful poem. Gave me tears in my eyes.
No poem has ever touched me the way that this beautiful verse has. So poignantly written.
What a friend.
What a poem.
What a life!
A beautiful tribute!
So, so beautiful, just like your boy.
What a wonderful friend, and beautiful poem. Praying that you and Tim are surrounded by people like her, that knew him and loved him, and can laugh and talk with you about him. Thank you for posting this.
Amazing heartfelt poem, I'm in tears
what an amazing poem...and it so captured him. Feel like I know the little man. My son sounds very much like Jack. Thanks for sharing Jack with all of us. May his wings and the whispers of the day help you find peace. Hugs.
We miss you, Jack.
Looking out at my bird feeders smiling.
How unbearably lovely. So glad you have caring friends to support you and honor Jack. Through tears sending you love.
Beautiful poem. I'm in tears. And wishing it was next Friday so I could give you a hug.
LOVE this story and the poem!!!
I love the stories you are sharing of the young Jack. I imagine if I were in your shoes ~ my heart would always be there. Remembering. Never forgetting.
He was special. I see that. And damn cute too.
That is beautiful. xo
beautifully written - thank you for sharing. I know this poem will bring you comfort thru the years - what a great tribute and honor to Jack's life... His wings will carry him until you meet again. xo Patty
To borrow Steph's words..."unbearably lovely". A beautiful poem that makes me smile through my tears. A "rare bird", a precious gift. Hugs & prayers...
Thank God for friends, what would we do without them?
What a beautiful, heartfelt poem.
ahhh my heart.....beautiful poem.
Such beautiful words! What an amazing gift. Thank you for sharing.
Such a beautiful poem, written about a beatiful child.
Wow. Beautiful words and sentiments for a beautiful boy and family. Thanks for sharing!! Lou
What a beautiful poem and a beautiful reminder. While we are here grieving, Jack is wraping his loving arms around your heart, your family. While we can not see him, he is there and will be until the day we know we will all meet again. Sending continued thoughts and prayers for you and your family. May his memory be eternal.
Your friend is quite a talented poet. Thank you for sharing this!
What a beautiful poem. Sounds like Jack is a very special person.
Continuing to lift you up to our Lord.
Tears running down my cheeks.
Thank you for sharing, letting us share your pain.
Anna, your story and this poem gave me chills....beautiful...
How special and beautiful.
The poem is amazing and beautiful.
How deeply he touched people.
I didn't know what a semaphore was, either. I looked it up, and it comes from Greek words meaning "sign-bearer."
I appreciate this poem even more when I consider that birds have been used traditionally in the arts as the sign-bearer of the Holy Spirit.
Anything that brings peace or joy is of the Holy Spirit. Your friend's kindness must have meant the world to you.
I told myself I wouldn't cry with todays post, but I was wrong. Just beautiful.
What a beautiful poem. The author must have known Jack well and is also very talented. You are blessed with such a friend. You were, of course, blessed as well with such a special son.
Thank you for sharing these beautiful writings and memories.
-- Joan in PA
That was a beautiful poem. you are surrounded by so much love.
Wow! I'm crying now ....
That was an incredibly touching and beautiful poem. Still thinking of yall every day.
that is beautiful, anna. the story and the poem- both beautiful.you have such a gift and i am glad you can use it to help you express your emotions. i know so many out there are reading your blog, and i am sure so many are relating to your feelings. someone who can put it into words is a great gift to those who cannot find the words on their own.
I'm in tears. That is wonderful.
Truly, amazing, beautiful. The poem, and your amazing beautiful boy have touched my heart so. Prayers and blessings always to you.
Just beautiful. He gave you mom-friends!
Beautiful poem. Beautiful friend.
Our 'mom friends' - especially those who have known our kids since infancy - have such a unique window into our children! This poem exemplifies that so beautifully. Lean on these friends.......
I love you, Anna. It takes a rare bird to raise one. Suzy
What a beautiful poem. So touching ...
beautiful...just beautiful! Still praying.
What a beautiful gift that poem is. Just beautiful.
That is just incredible and beautiful! Soo powerful!
What an incredible way to remember him. This is a beautiful gift.
That was so beautiful. What a gift.
What a gorgeous, beautiful poem. Your sweet boy has touched so many.
I love your description of feeling like you hit the jackpot with your kids. I think all parents have that feeling, that we somehow got lucky and got the best one(s). But to have that jackpot taken away... Sending love and strength to you and your family as you find your way through this pain.
I'm still reading your blog every day, refreshing my browser again and again looking for new posts. You are such a fantastic mom, Anna, and it is so clear in reading about your kids. I am so, so, so sorry for your loss and cannot even imagine what you must be going through -- but please continue to write and share. We're always here and so many of us. xoxo
i am always at a loss for words when it comes to commenting on your posts....
beautiful words for a beautiful boy.
holding you all in my heart...
Till me meet again.
Love to all of you.
Came back to visit this again before trying to sleep. Love it so much. Love YOU so much!
That poem is absolutely amazing. I have no other words.
Anna, my beloved "perfect" oldest child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes this week. Your blog is something I turn to for comfort, wisdom, and guidance. Thank you and again I am so sorry for your loss.
What a beautiful & thoughtful poem.
Continuing to pray for you.....
How dear this friend must be to have written such a tribute to your son. I hope love continues to surround you and your family on this road you never wanted to be on, and may it never fail to tend your broken wings.
That says everything. So beautiful.
I'm here every day, so glad I found you. xo
This is beautiful - and that she could express her grief in that way is a gift.
Your friends poem is so beautiful, what a gift! And your explanation of Bird makes it so much more special. Daily prayers still coming your way.
That's beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us.
That literally did take my breath away for a moment.
When people are brave and free with their words and their heart they can give such gifts.
What a beautiful poem.
Simply lovely and magical.
Gorgeous, Anna. Thank god for friends because there is no way to capture it all and hold it alone.
Anna, we've been moving and I haven't had time to be here. And now, finally, I'm here catching up and taking in your words, your Jack, your heart. How incredible, how beautiful they are.
I cannot stop thinking about this amazing poem. It is so beautiful and touching. xoxo Kathy
What a beautiful gift! Thank you for continuing to share your Jack with us. I am learning so much from him, from you. From this day forward I will look at my children's struggles and imperfections as a stepping stone in their journey.
You are truly a wonderful woman and mother Anna, and I look so forward to meeting Jack in heaven.
Beautiful, just perfect.
What a beautiful gift - thank you for sharing it with all of us. And it's all true, isn't it ? We shall all be with our loved ones again.....
Anna. I can hardly contain the admiration and respect I feel for you. I DO have some idea of perhaps a tinch of what you're living- and wish I didn't. I admire your ability to share- and I KNOW it. You are healing yourself in ways you might not recognize yet- and you are helping us heal as well.
And while our wounds are not nearly as deep and life altering as yours, please know that we are all sending prayers to the Lord that he hold you close until you are with your darling boy once again.
Thank you for sharing this intimate glimpse into the "early Jack" period. The poem was so much more meaningful to me with this background info. Amazing how much he was able to teach you in such a short time.
poetry can cut to the soul and heart so poignantly. I have a rare love for birds. We just installed our bird feeder outside the dining room window to lure the fall birds our way for our viewing pleasure. I will think of Jack when I see the loveliest of birds. I love the little sparrows. sweet, small and unassuming yet God mentions them in the new testament. jack will be the sparrow for me this winter. when I see one I will lift you in prayer.
Dee from Tennessee
What a gift ...this is from the heart of hearts.
How beautiful. Brought goosebumps to my arms and tears to my eyes.
The poem made me burst into tears. I am sending your friend a giant hug for writing it and giving it you to to share with us.
Your own words about your acceptance of Jack's amazing abilities and his challenges give me pause. My children are very similar to yours. I am learning so much from you.
Beautiful poem. Perfect.
I tear up every time I read it.
a beautiful tribute.
This made me cry. What a lovely poem and tribute to Jack.
What a beautiful poem about a beautiful boy...brought me to tears. My 7 yr old son sounds a lot like yours, both the intelligence, joy and challenges. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You and your beautiful family are in our prayers.
Damaris in NY
I saw Glennon's post today and came over to read about your beautiful boy. I want to say that as strange as it might sound having never 'met' Jack, he has added something beautiful to my life today and I thank you for sharing his story with me, with all of us. I am thinking about having children and I have so many fears and of course losing a child is the worst of those worries. You have shown me that all the risks and worries are worth it no matter what happens. That you're child will always be your child no matter what. No one can ever take away the love that you have for each other because love never dies. Your family inspires me and gives me hope. You have no idea what that means to me. I hope one day I can be half the mother you are.
Much love and gratitude,
Kerri x x
Ohhh what a poem, I cannot wipe my eyes enough....
Post a Comment