Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jack Franklin turns NINE?!?!?

9 years ago, at 5 life changed forever...i became a mother. 
9 years ago, at 5 am...God gave us a gift in this sweet baby boy.
9 years ago, at 5 am...i fell in love with Jack Franklin Pinson.

For the first time ever, I gazed into those big beautiful eyes (no really, his eyes were WIDE OPEN...this kid was ready to go!)

For the first time ever, I felt the weight of what God entrusts you with when He gives you a baby...this precious little soul, so fresh from Heaven...and God entrusted him to us? (yes, that is supposed to be a question mark...that was an appropriate question/doubt/fear in our minds at the time)

But, thankfully...for the first time ever that day, and every day since, I also experience(d) the fullness of God's grace...the peace that came in knowing we weren't alone in this...and that we didn't need more time to "be ready" me, you'll never get that elusive place of "being ready"'s a learn as you go type of life pray constantly for guidance and then you pray that they will forgive you, when they are older, for all the things you got wrong

All we needed was to lean into God's grace. First tiny glimpse...the name we had already means "God is gracious"...for his middle name we chose Franklin...a name that means "free", reminding us again that we were not alone, that this gift of God's grace was free...a promise that God's love for him, and ours, came freely, without condition...and a promise that nothing could ever separate us from that grace (a promise that we hope Jack will also cling to). But we really first chose Franklin because it was my own daddy's middle dad...a man who was both the gentlest and strongest man i had ever known...and wow, has that turned out to be the case with my sweet boy...just like my daddy...just like his own daddy...Jack Franklin has such a tender heart...and it is a big part of what makes him strong.

no, he wasn't "planned" in our young, after only 4 months of marriage we were not expecting to see a + sign on that little test...2 days after we decided, no, let's wait on getting a dog because it's such a big responsibility and expensive and we don't really have jobs or a place to live after we graduate college here in a few weeks! as they say...God has a sense of humor.

Jack Franklin Pinson also has a sense of humor...Jack Franklin Pinson can have you in stitches one minute...and he can break your heart in another, because his heart is so very tender.

He loves to read...always has his nose in a book, and i love it...although we have literally had to alert him, a few times, that he should probably put the book down as he's about to cross the street! He is so animated and can tell a story like no one else...sometimes he get so excited that he just goes like a steamroller through every teeny, tiny, minute detail...with all of our faces dumbfounded...not because what he is saying is bad or wrong, but because we can barely understand a single word , he's going SO FAST! (no idea where he got that)

He creates these entire worlds in the stories that he writes...he knows every character intimately and it is rare to find a piece of paper in our house that does not bear some art work of his. On every piece of schoolwork sent home, there is no margin left untouched by his artistic hand...always doodling...always dreaming...and there is a constant stream of paper all over my house full of his little worlds and people and their stories...and I LOVE IT! He says he wants to be an author, illustrator and animator when he grows up...and, if that's what he still wishes to do later in life, I have no doubt he'll do it and he will succeed.

As hard as it is to see him so grown up, it is such a joy to watch him grow. He is the definition of "being a sponge"...ya know, how we all talk about kids, soaking everything up like a sponge...HE IS THE SPONGE...he notices every little thing with detail, he feels everything deeply and he loves fiercely. His little brother adores him...and drives him crazy...exactly as it should be, right?

I asked Jack awhile back, when we were talking about his upcoming birthday...what his favorite birthday ever the best one EVER...and do you know what that precious little angel said to me? He said, without even a second's thought, that it was his 6th birthday...the surprise party. That may sound totally normal to most people...surprise parties are fun. But this one was a little different...this surprise party was in a hospital room, where i had been for over four months...some people helped get some decorations to me and some nurses helped me decorate my room and we surprised that little boy who was turning 6. He came in and made the best little somewhat-overwhelmed-genuinely-surprised face ever...climbed right up in my lap and gave me a big hug and said, "it's a surprise party! thank you so much mommy...IT'S JUST WHAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED!" There was a room full of family...there were some presents and some cupcakes and some decorating that would be so NOT party games other than the all-time favorite of my boys at the time...the "push all the buttons on mommy's hospital bed game". And, for some reason, THAT was his favorite birthday party ever. At a time in our life, when all we were trying to do was to stay afloat and survive...when we were living in what we call "crisis mode"...when i was in the hospital more than i was home and my sweet Jack Franklin was realizing that all of his friends' mommies were not in the hospital all the time...on a day that i held back the tears as much as i could because i felt so badly that i couldn't give him the birthday i wanted to...and THAT...that night...was this precious boy's favorite birthday ever.

Not too long ago, Jack made a piece of art that had what he told us were his favorite words from scripture on it. They were the words of Proverbs 31:8-9:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.

What a verse for a 9 year old to cling to...Oh Lord I pray that his heart will always break for the things that break your heart...that he will live his life giving voice to the voiceless and comfort to the suffering. These sweet boys of mine are learning, unfortunately, some difficult lessons that they shouldn't have to at such young ages. And, yet, i see evidence every single day that tells me they will grow to be men with a unique sense of empathy, compassion and service...that they will be selfless, steadfast, gentle and strong like their daddy.

I love that Jack's middle name was also his Pappy's middle is precious to me, and to him, that they share that...Jack Franklin Pinson also has quite a presidential ring to it...but, no pressure
I am grateful that Jack still retains some memories of my sweet daddy...I wish they had gotten more time with him. If there is anyone who would love Jack' stories and characters...anyone who would brag on him incessantly...anyone who would laugh hysterically at his crazy would have be his Pappy. I am grateful that both of my kids got to know my daddy. I know that their memories will probably fade...but i am SO VERY GRATEFUL for that time. And I can guarantee that, as the celebration of Jack dies down on his birthday, he will take a balloon, go outside and send it up to Pappy...Pappy is always invited to the party.

was it really nine years ago that i became a mommy? nine years ago that i first knew what it felt like to have my heart living outside of my body...that i first gazed into those big eyes and felt those tiny little fingers clasping mine...that my heart became a mother heart and opened up to totally new love that overwhelmed me...that helped me understand the cross in a whole new way?

9 years...i am forever changed because of this beautiful boy.

happy happy birthday to my sweet, smart, talented, curious, loving, creative, sensitive, kind, hilarious, affectionate, tenderhearted jack franklin