Jake, the birthday boy...
My son Jake has complained that I NEVER write blog posts about the older kids, especially him. I beg to differ, but since this is his birthday I am going to let it go and write him a little post dedicated completely and entirely to ONLY HIM! That is something that doesn't happen a lot here. Very seldom does anyone have anything all to themselves, but this my dear son is about you and only you! So here goes...
When Brian and I started to date Jacob was almost three. He was this scrappy, funny, little guy with strawberry blond hair, big blue eyes and freckles. He loved anything sports related and was super competitive. Anytime we played anything, he would constantly ask, "Did MY win?" He was so funny and really cute. He stole my heart right away!
Although I didn't have the privilege of giving birth to Jake, I very distinctly remember the first time that I truly felt like his mom. Brian and I were engaged and a few months from our wedding and Jake got sick. He had been running a fever and throwing up and was basically dehydrated and miserable. All that he wanted to do was crawl up on my lap and have me hold him. And that was exactly what I did. That was all that I wanted to do then. I just wanted to hold him and cuddle him and some how make him feel better. My heart broke a little bit and for the first time I felt like his mom. I knew right then and there that he was mine. Period.
We definitely had our adjustment period, and at the time I thought that it was because I was new to the whole mom thing. But 13 years later and 6 more kids in, I realize that it wasn't an adjustment period as much as it was parenting. I just didn't know that. It took me a little while to figure out that each child was different and the same tactics didn't work with each kid. Jake was a perfect example of that. With the twins, all that I really had to do was say, "Don't do that!" And they would stop. It was that simple. Jake on the other hand, required some creative parenting. More than once I had to leave a cart full of groceries in Walmart and drag his temper- tantrum-throwing-butt to the car. He could pitch a full blow fit like a champ. I am talking kicking, flailing and screaming like a crazy person! I could put him in time out forever. I could ground him from the TV and his toys. I could even spank him and NOTHING worked. And then I figured it out. Cleaning! The kid hated to clean! All that I had to do was give him a soapy bucket of water and a rag and assign him a section of the wall to scrub. Success! Let me tell you, I had the cleanest bottom 3 feet of wall up and down my hallway. Lesson learned...for both of us.
One very funny story that we love to retell shows Jake's true character. I can't remember where I was but I wasn't home. Brian was trying to get the kids in bed and DJ and Jake were not cooperating. He finally told them to grab their toothbrushes and a bucket of water. He filled the bucket up with soapy water and led them out to the garage. He told them that they had to stay out there until they had scrubbed the whole garage floor with their toothbrushes.(Don't worry , we had extra toothbrushes!) They tried to act like they didn't care and started scrubbing. What they didn't know was that Brian was standing right outside the garage listening to them. Obviously he wasn't going to leave them in the garage at night alone, but they didn't know that. I came home shortly after they had started to scrub the floor. We literally stood outside trying to stifle our giggles. They started out strong saying things like, "This isn't bad! Who cares! We can just have a sleepover out here!" That quickly changed to, "We are NEVER going to be done! It is creepy out here! I want to go in the house!" And then Jake's true self came through. He had accidentally splashed some of his water out of his bucket onto the floor. When he saw the water on the floor, the light bulb went off. He looked at DJ and said, "Hey! All that we have to do is just pour the water onto the floor. It will look like we cleaned it because it is wet! They won't know!" By then we were practically rolling on the ground listening to them. We eventually let them off of the hook, but we still laugh about Jake's creative cleaning.
But hands down the absolute funniest Jake story EVER happened a few years ago. We were in pretty desperate need of a new van. I was pregnant with Noah and we had outgrown our current vehicle. We were driving around looking at used car lots to try and find a used 12 passenger van. No easy task, my friends! We pulled into a car lot and there was a large van. At first we thought that it was a 12 passenger, but when we got closer we realized that it was actually a conversion van. We pulled back onto the road and Jake says very seriously, " Well it must have been an Amish van." We looked at him, "Huh? What do you mean?" He shakes his head as if he is annoyed that he has to explain something that is so obvious. "Obviously it is Amish because it has curtains and they are all pulled to one side." Hmmmm, apparently he missed the memo stating that Amish don't drive cars or vans or anything motorized. We were literally laughing so hard that we were crying, tears rolling down our faces. Oh Jacob. My funny funny boy.
As I think back on these funny moments with Jake, I am amazed at how much he has grown (literally! He is over 6 foot now!) and matured. He is still very much that little guy that is super competitive and loves sports. He not only plays both soccer and basketball, but he excels in them. He is also a dedicated student and makes very good grades. But even more than all of that, he has become a good person. He is a really good big brother. He usually has at least one or two of the little boys in tow, engaging them in games and sports. He spends time teaching them how to dribble and shoot and play pretty much any sport. He also helps his dad and I out, whether it's helping to get a little person ready for church or just to taking them out to the trampoline to give us a minute to ourselves. I know that if I have to leave him in charge, everything and everyone will be fine. His willingness to help out is something that I am sure that his dad and I sometimes take for granted, but we really do appreciate it. He does many things to make us proud, but as a parent one of your primary goals is to teach your child to love God. In this area he has never let us down. I have witnessed his faith grow in importance to him and I have seen him really challenge himself to learn more and to dig deeper. For a 16 year old boy, I am amazed at how he truly tries to live out his faith. I am a proud momma and I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to be his mother. Happy Birthday Jake!