I frequently address Jacob incorrectly as Jonathan. I am not proud of this.
I may have to return my Super Mom cape.
Usually Jacob will be doing something inappropriate to Jonathan and I start “Jon…Jacob stop giving your brother an atomic wedgy!” I don’t know why really. Obviously I didn’t call him Jonathan before Jonathan was born. Why do I do it now? Heck, I’ve even called him by the dog’s name. Really? The dog? Yes. “TobyJon.., I mean Jacob stop making your brother eat cat food.” That’s bad, right? I mean it’s bad enough to address the siblings incorrectly, but the dog?
Fortunately, I only get the “Jon” out before I realize my mistake. I make up for my misnomer by singing “Jon Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” and Jacob laughs, I apologize and it’s okay. Wait, did I just apologize? He was feeding cat food to Jonathan, not me! I was hornswoggled! Again! Jacob has this effect on me.
Jacob senses that he is the odd man out. Evidently being the healthy child has its drawbacks. He isn’t part of the club, so to speak. He sees what his brothers go through, but it doesn’t register in his 7 year old brain – blood draws, medicines, doctor visits – all he sees is the attention the other boys receive, not the things they have to endure.
Our life experiences are remembered by who was in the hospital at the time. I’ve spent a lot of family get-togethers either at the hospital or at home with the child that couldn’t be exposed to the germs of 20 family members. So much so, I still haven’t met all my husband’s family! But it also means I’ve spent a lot of family get-togethers without Jacob. I’ve missed weddings. I’ve missed deployment farewell parties.I’ve missed Easter egg hunts and HalloWeenie roasts. I’ve missed birthdays. I’ve missed teeth getting lost and I’ve missed hundreds of goodnight hugs and kisses.
I have missed a lot of things while incarcerated with Capt Snuggles. Jonathan and Zachary seem to be coping just fine, they greet me with hugs and kisses when Dad brings them to see me. They both want to hold my hand and I can’t get a word in edge-wise, their chattering boisterous and happy.
Jacob chooses not to come see me.
Obviously, this hurts me and I am torn whether to force him to come or let him go to Grandma’s, as he’s requested.
I let him go.
I know, millions of parents miss things with their kids for one reason or another. And granted, Dad and the rest of the family are there. But Jacob knows I’m not there because one of his brothers needs my attention. That causes hurt feelings and resentments that a 7 year old can’t reconcile with the fact that I love him regardless of where or who I’m with.
I truly hope that he remembers the things I did just for him. The nights of meteor showers when I wake hime and only him, at 3am to snuggle under blankets in the backyard and to watch brilliant streaks across the sky. The singing until I’m hoarse, of the “Rainbow Connection” because it is his favorite song. The guidance in making decisions that others might not like, but that he’s comfortable with.
We’ll get through this hospital stay and any others that come our way.
And I promise not to call him Toby anymore….if I can help it.