Dear Jakey,

Happy Thanksgiving a day late. It was our first without you, although that is not entirely accurate. You were with us, if you weren’t I don’t think I would have been able to relax and enjoy it as much as I did. You continue to be so incredibly present with Ethan and I so appreciate his bluntness. He talks about you without thinking how others will react and I need to respond which helps keep you at the forefront of it all.

The day before Thanksgiving I read a blog by another mom. She wrote a piece about special needs’ moms begin more thankful than normal moms. As I started reading it, I wasn’t sure what to make of it but it was really well-written and right to the point. And it reminded me so much of my life with you and how much I loved it and how thankful I am for the time we had together. She wrote about the assumptions parents can make when they are blessed with healthy, typical children. They might wonder if they will play sports but with that wonder comes the assumption that they will walk independently, be able to go up or down stairs, hold their head up, have enough trunk strength to even sit – things that most moms don’t have to consider. It goes on and on about everything from friendships to education to marriage. And I remember having countless conversations with my friends about all of these things and always thinking about it – thinking about the path we were on for you and how you were not going to ever have a girlfriend or get married, or walk across the stage for graduation or get a phone call from a friend or make a goal in soccer or go away to college. Or even get in trouble for talking back or not paying attention in school. All the things that people take for granted would likely never happen for us. But the thing was – I know it made all of us gain such an appreciation for things that I would never have changed it. Obviously I wish you were able to enjoy the good things in life a little more vividly – the joy of running or the satisfaction of being able to express your wants and needs. I wanted only the best of everything for you but I know that you were able to be happy with the simple things – the kisses and cuddles and that you appreciated what was really important. And that is your legacy – it is what you taught us. And I see that Ethan learned it and will one day share it with a family of his own. And on this first Thanksgiving without you, I couldn’t be more proud or happy that you are my son.

With love and gratitude,