Jacob turned seven on Sunday. He had his birthday on Easter, which I thought was pretty cool, seeing as I was born on Easter and have had my own birthday on Easter several times in the first week of April. It didn't mean anything to Jacob, except a little more candy. The day was bittersweet. He's still at about 18 months developmentally, so he enjoyed it like a toddler does, ripping open gifts and liking the attention but not really understanding why he was getting them. We kept saying "Yay! Jacob's birthday!" "Jacob is 7!!" just in case something is sinking in.
Tyler and Maddie are in California for Spring Break, so it is just Chris, Jacob and I for the past 6 days and 5 more. Jacob is very different when the big kids are not home. Much calmer, less aggression, more affectionate to Chris. It a tough situation. We love seeing this side of him, but feel badly that he seems so affected by his siblings in a negative way. A lot of it is just the high energy and activity level when all three kids are home. Kids tend to feed off each other, and with Jacob it is the same things but magnified. It's really hard as a mom to know that your special child does better when his brother and sister are away. It does give Chris and I some reassurance that maybe when it is just the three of us at home Jacob will be easier to manage. But then there's that whole issue that he will be 16 and most likely 6'3" like his dad. So it won't really be the same at all.
It feels like so much about our lives is up in the air and unknown. We don't know what things will change in Jacob's life- if he will speak or learn to use another form of communication, will he ever be potty trained, will his health be affected by his poor nutrition and lack of variety of foods. And since Jacob's future is so unknown, Chris and I leave ours unplanned. Will he live with us forever? Or will he live in a group home? And which do we want for him? Will we ever be able to travel with him- its impossible right now, and I can't imagine how it will get easier. But Chris and I had dreams of catching up on all the traveling we haven't done- I want him to see London, he wants to take me to Thailand. Right now it feels like I'll never be an Empty Nester, and never get to see any more of the world than I already have, which isn't much. Really every day is an unknown. Some days with Jacob are peaceful and enjoyable, some days leave us all crying and hurting and afraid of the future. It is such a roller coaster.
Today is good. Jacob is happy, currently coloring and watching Scooby Doo. I've had time to catch up on emails and dishes,and now I'm waiting to hear back on an offer we made yesterday on a new house. (Keep fingers crossed for us, please.) Some days like this, when it is just Jacob and I at home all day together, I forget that he is not a typical seven year old. He's just Jacob, my youngest boy, a child of God. An artist and a lover of flowers. Adventurous and brave, funny without meaning to be. I love him so much. When it gets hard, when he's hurting me or himself and seems inconsolable, all I need to do is remember his smile and shining eyes and see the dandelions wrapped in tissue he gave me yesterday, and it gives me perspective. He's my son, given to me to care for and love. I can do it.
Happy Birthday, Jacob. I love you.