(This picture was taken on one of the nights that was especially hard on both of us while Jordon was sick. We had had a very long day and we tried to carve out some fun time at the end of the evening playing around with selfies.)
One night awhile back Jackson came down stairs troubled by a thought he was having. Children really think deeply, it’s just the description or verbalization that they have trouble with. Jackson is an old soul and he doesn’t really have much trouble in this department. And we are really connected, he and I. What I am happy about is that we always shared this connection so there really has been no change in the depth of our discussions; just more discussions as to be expected. This one night in particular will be a night that will be branded into my mind of just how much kids really do “get it”. Through their playing with their friends and what they do in their activities both at home and at school- they self-direct the healing process through their grief. They have few barriers like we as adults do and they know what to ask for that will make them heal. When Jackson asks, and it is reasonable and sound, he gets. But, here is what Jackson told me and asked me that night.
He said to me, “You will not have any man in this house until I am 20 years old and out of here! There will be no guy to come in my room at night and say “Goodnight” to me. Nobody can replace Daddy. And you better not date behind my back. I will know. And you better wear your wedding ring too. If you get married, I’m going to come to your wedding with a blow horn! No one will hear what you say. And I am going to smash your chocolate fountain!” Good heavens!!!! Jackson has never even been to a wedding before yet he has such a vivid description of the plan of chaos he’s going to inflict! What a description of utter destruction and mayhem! I love it. He was getting out what he felt. Bottom line- no man can take his father’s place is what he was saying. And he is right.
So…. Here was my response to him.
“Okay, then we have a deal. Now you have to live up to your end. And here it is- If you start screwing up at school. If you start doing drugs. If you start drinking and driving and skipping school and hanging out with the wrong crowd and giving me a hard time because you are angry that your father died- I am going to hire an big, ugly, mean nanny who’s going to come after school every day to pick your butt up in front of your friends and bring you home. You will lose all your freedoms and choices and you will sit and do your homework.” Ask me if a boy’s eyes can grow larger than saucers? My answer will be yes!! Bahahahaha!
It broke our pain and hurt and it melted into laughter. We smiled and gave each other a hug. I love my Jack. He is so intuitive and kind. He so didn’t deserve this, but what child does? A wise friend I went to high school with, and am still connected to on Facebook said to me, “I was 14 when my father died, and I’m guessing he’s a bit younger than that, right? I know this is an incredibly difficult time for your family, but I do want you to know there can be a silver lining: I’ve always suspected that my dad’s death ultimately made me stronger as an adult, and I’ve recently read research confirming that such a phenomenon exists in a lot of people who lost parents under the age of 16 (it’s harder for those who were older).” I am going to hold fast to this remarkable advice and insight. This will be Jackson. Thank you, Glenn Hubbard.