Jacob

Jacob,

You were aptly named, but I can’t take credit. 

There must have been some bigger power that gave you your name. Something that knew you would need an inner strength during this lifetime. A strength to do things beyond your years.  Some power must have known because it wasn’t us. It was not our intent to name you a “strong” name, you became Jacob by default. It was the last name standing. 

We had used our “boy” name on Benno. We were fresh out of names. I know that sounds ridiculous in the hundreds of thousands of names, but I worked for years at an all-boys school so every name was attached to a child, making it difficult to separate names from these already formed children in my life. But don’t blame me! Your daddy was of no help, if anything negative help. You would rate him zero stars on this task. I would spend the nights listing name after name. To only elicit a grunt from daddy or “never.” But would he help by supplying a name? Never. He was not very helpful.

When I finally said Jacob, he said: “that’s not terrible.” I wish I had a better story for you. I wish I could tell you an exciting tale about your birth name. That you were named after a mountain, a person, an event, or even a student like your brother, but sadly that was not the case, you were named by default. The only name your daddy would tolerate.

But maybe that is how names work. They find you.

That name was meant to find you.

There is a Jacob from the bible that you remind me of. I never made the connection until recently. I actually never thought of the Bible until recently. But you are a big deal in there.

You know how you like battles?

Well, Jacob in the bible had a battle like none other. He battled an angel. Yes, an angel, which seems weird, because he would fall according to you on the “good side.” But Jacob battled the angel because he wanted more. This Jacob never gives up. When he learned it was an angel, Jacob wouldn’t let go of the angel until he was blessed by it. He ended up fighting the angel. Can you imagine having the power to battle an angel? Well, you did and you do. 

I see that power every day.

And I’m not just talking about your powerful scream. But boy is that powerful! But no that is not real power. Hear me Jacob? That is not power. That is noise. There is a key difference there.

I’m talking about your soul. How brave you are. I’ve never met a five-year-old like you and I’ve met lots of five-year-olds. I’ve never met anyone so strong. Every day you surprise me by your bravery. 

And yet I know I still ask more of you. I know you are mad at me. 

I know you can’t understand this Jacob. I know you don’t understand why I keep bringing you to the hospital, even here in Austria, for blood tests while “Benno doesn’t have to.” I know you don’t know how serious this is, which I’m thankful for, but I need to write this.

Please know that when we hold you down against your will, we are on YOUR side. That we are your advocate. I bet it doesn’t feel that way. I can’t imagine being held down by my parents. I can’t imagine them pushing me every day in ways we have to. But please know that we do this because we LOVE you. We love you so much that we are capable of doing things that we never even dreamed of being asked to do.

 And just like a Jacob you walk away from each encounter. And maybe even a blessing.

I love you.

You wear your name well.

Love,

Mama

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