Jacob is 18 years old today. For me this is a huge pinnacle, my baby is grown up! When that happened, I do not know. He has grown into an amazing young man, with a tender heart and the intelligence of his childhood hero Albert Einstein; or at least the self confidence to convince us of that.
Following are a few of my favorite memories of Jacob.
Christmas, 1996, Making Christmas cookies with Suzie and the kids. Of course it results in a flour fight and some very ugly, yet endearing, cookies for Santa. "What you doing Jacob"? "Wookin' at woo." This was the same year the 'carrot tradition' began. If you don't know what the carrot tradition is, just drive by our house Christmas day and you'll see baby carrots everywhere. If Santa gets cookies then the reindeer deserve carrots, right?
It was nineteen hundred and ninety nine, Jacob is at an after school program, swinging he decides to jump out of the swing; many of us know what happened next. It didn't go so well, Jacob is rushed to the emergency room with a broken femur bone. When all is said and done, Jacob has spent six weeks in a full body cast. What an experience that was for all of us. One of my fondest memories was carrying Jacob outside, putting him in a lawn chair or sitting him on the back of my truck to look at the stars together. Those were some of my favorite moments with Jacob.
Christmas 2001, Suzie, myself and Jacob are driving around enjoying the Christmas lights. I remember there being an unusual number of American flags and USA themes because just a few months prior we, as a nation, had suffered the 9/11 attacks. We pulled up in front of a house with a HUGE American flag in lights on the side of their home. I said, something to the effect of, "I understand the purpose and meaning of this flag, but wouldn't it be great if it were a World flag?" 9 year old Jacob pipes in, "Mom, you're such a hippie." Suzie replies with, "Well Jacob, if your mom is a hippie then you must be part hippie..." We continued to goad him by chanting... Jacob is a hippie, Jacob is a hippie... and Jacob you have an 'inner hippie' somewhere deep inside of you. Jacob, getting more and more agitated and angry with us, yells out "I am NOT a hippie, I am a CORPORATE LEMMING!!!" Stunned, Suzie and I immediately ceased our chanting, looked at each other and burst out laughing.
Jacob used to wear a suit to school every other Friday, he referred to it as "Formal Friday". To my understanding this was not a school theme; this was just Jacob and his brother Cody's fun thing to do. He continued this practice until his freshman year in high school.
The summer of Jacob's 16th year we went on a "Hollywood or Bust" road trip. We went through the redwood forest and drove through a giant redwood. We hugged a few trees. Suzie and I dug our nails into the upholstery as Jacob, behind the wheel of the car, maneuvered the curvy, steep roads of Highway 1; SCARY!!! We did the movie stars' home tour; put our hands in the prints outside of Graumans Chinese Restaurant and went to Universal Studios. We did as many tacky, tourist things as we possibly could. Soooooo much fun!
Sometime during his high school years Jacob transitioned from his "Go Bush" mentality to more of a liberal, or what I like to call a more sensible, time of his life. ;o) He found his 'inner hippie'. Jacob has managed to meld together his corporate lemming and his inner hippie into a very well rounded young man.
Jacob, I hope you will take all of the things you have learned into your college years and continue to soak up as much knowledge and as many experiences as possible. Never forget the three R's and always remember how much your mom loves you!!
I love you more than there are stars in all the universe,