Today was not my favorite day. It was more than a little rough, to be honest. However, I don’t want to focus on what went wrong. I’d rather tell you about a young man who is sixteen years old today: my youngest son Jasper.
Jasper was not, as some might think, an “accident” or unwanted seventh child. He was eagerly anticipated. I remember when we told the other kids that they’d be getting another sibling, they all stood up and cheered!
I was almost 42 when he was born, and I had a hard recovery from the C-section due to the spinal headache that followed it. I had to lie down flat for three weeks. But my husband had made me a wonderful “sidecar” bed that was bolted to the side of our bed, so I could lie there right beside my baby and watch him as he slept or rub his back if he was fussy. That first summer, we called him Septimus Minimus!
I knew that due to my age, he was likely to be my last baby, and I treasured every moment of his babyhood. He had a half-dozen willing slaves in his older siblings, all of whom would drop everything to entertain him. They taught him to act out dramatic death scenes when he could barely walk. They sat through many viewings of Toy Story, his favorite movie.
As he became verbal, we realized that we had a very creative and imaginative kid on our hands. Like his big sister Lina, for many years he chose to process everything that happened to him using his imaginary friend, his “great-great-grandfather.” (Whose name was MacGyver, in case you wondered.) No matter what happened to Jasper, we’d be sure to hear a story about something very similar (but more exciting) happening to his great-great-grandfather.
He has always been an affectionate, positive kid. When he was still sleeping in his crib, I would go to get him in the morning and he’d be beaming at me. “Today’s going to be a GREAT day!” he’d say. When all the other kids complained about shopping at Walmart with me on Saturday mornings, he came with me willingly and cheerfully, week after week and year after year. When I was stressed or frustrated, he always seemed to know and would seek me out, saying, “You need a hug!”
Now, suddenly, he is taller than me and his voice has deepened. Where did the years go? He still hugs me every day and willingly helps me around the house. He works with his dad on Saturdays and takes care of his bees. We didn’t really celebrate his birthday much today because of the other stuff that happened, but don’t worry—we will. He did get an outing with his big sister which included a walk along some railroad tracks. He came home with a nice collection of discarded iron spikes to use for his blacksmithing endeavors. That’s another thing I love about him. He is thrilled to pieces with his rusty iron spikes!
Happy Birthday, Jasper!