The boys get a great thrill and matching grins when I tell them about their temperaments as babies and which words their tiny voices eked out first. I tell Jack he was the grumpiest nap-waker-upper in all the land, but the first time he pronounced kit-ty in church I beamed with pride — after recovering from all the shhh looks around me.
Jamison was all smiles when he woke up from a nap, well rested and happy to be scooped up and held tight. He may have uttered dada or ball first, but tractor is the word I remember because he didn’t just say it, he emoted it.
In a few years, when they ask again, mom what was I like when I was younger, I will pick from the days like stems from a garden and hand them a few at a time.
On this occasion, I will hand Jamison five of the most vibrant daffodils surrounded by a wreath of airy lady’s mantle. And I will continue, I remember the day we celebrated your 5th birthday.
It was the first time I let you invite a couple of your buddies from school. It was unseasonably gorgeous outside. The world had forgotten it was February. The sun had its Spring training wheels on and it felt warm and wonderful sitting on the deck, watching you all run through the back field till you were teeny-tiny dots and voices far off in the distance.
Traipsing around in the dirt and piles of forgotten branches, your small faces flushed with excitement and panted from the long walk. I was grateful for this extra hour you got to run free with your friends. It was the kind of day happy childhoods are made of: dirt, sun and running wild and free.
We built jelly bean dispensers.
First, we outfitted each of your friends with their own tool belt. Jamison thoughtfully picked each pin and trim color ahead of time, so each friend could have their favorite if possible. He carefully inserted each pencil and “measuring tape” in every tool belt.
Next, you all lined up to sharpen your official carpenter pencils.
Then we put you to work. Daddy pre-cut and prepped all the necessary pieces. Mama supplied the jelly beans and mason jars. And all dads, uncles and grandfathers were on deck to help.
You and your friends wowed me with your concentration and listening skills. I wanted to squeeze your cheeks and give you all encouraging hugs.
All master carpenters in my mind.
Mike Rowe would’ve been proud.
Jamison Cole you are a joy to parent.
You are precise and exacting like your father.
You are empathetic like your mother.
You are creative like your grandmothers and enjoy a good laugh like your grandfathers.
All on your own your kind heart shines.
You correct me when I call a backhoe a tractor. You almost always forget what errand I sent you on if it involves more than one stop, but you never forget to include God in our conversations about love and family.
You run dirty fingers down the hall. You wear an ever-present line of jelly, jam or peanut butter across your cheeks, but it elongates your smile in the most endearing way. And if today were the day your occupation was forever sealed in fate, you would undoubtedly say, I’m going to be a farmer.
Happy very belated 5th birthday sweet boy of mine. I am learning so much from you.