Today’s Gift

10 05 2020
Newborn Jacob

Mother’s Day fell on May 10 in 1981, too. I don’t know this because I’m one of those remarkable people whose brains work like high-speed calculators. I know it because that day was my first Mother’s Day, and I spent it in labor with my first child. 

Jacob Wells Damoff entered the world at 9:51 PM, weighing a whopping ten pounds, four ounces, and arriving by c-section after 14+ hours of labor that wrung me out but did very little good in budging this miniature mountain. I’m a small human. He was a baby linebacker. The next day my doctor apologized for letting me labor as long as I did. 

One-year-old Jacob, showing you his stick.
Two-year-old Jacob, eager to fill his Daddy’s shoes

We soon learned that Jacob had a will to match his size. He was never the baby to lean back, quietly observing his surroundings. I remember more than one occasion gathering with my other new-mom friends. While their infants sat in carriers, cooing and sucking their fingers, Jacob loudly protested his indignation at having been set down and flailed his rage until I held him again. 

This intensity accompanied him into toddlerhood and beyond. He was curious about everything and extremely bright — mastering what’s expected of a kindergartner by the age of two. By the time he hit junior high, he was a speed reader — consuming 800 page novels in a few hours, able to tell the story with details.

Jacob on a ropes’ course in ninth grade, springing off the end of a board to catch a trapeze

He had his own sense of style, loved skateboarding, wrote poetry, sketched portraits, played guitar, and had a gorgeous singing voice. I spent a lot of time on my knees for this one, aware that his monumental will could work for or against him, and begging God to guard his heart, mind, and body. Much to my great joy, in ninth grade he really began to own his faith. He’d been baptized years before, but now it was clear that Jesus had awakened true belief. My first-born had been born again.

Jacob in ICU, May 23, 1996

And then. May 23, 1996. Two weeks after his fifteenth birthday, a near-fatal drowning. Coma. Seizures. Dire predictions. Life and hope hanging by a thread. 

What we didn’t know then, we know now. In the awful dark of those early days, somewhere in the deeps of his soul, the Holy Spirit whispered to his tenacious will, “arise.” And it responded as He’d created it to — with indignation and flailing rage against all the forces working to keep him down. When God says get up, injury, natural law, and medical science have to step aside. The miracle was God’s. The miracle also explained a whole lot about why He made Jacob the way He did. 

Jacob, December 1996, finding his footing again

It was a slow awakening. A time of intense refinement — an excruciating pain that pressed relentlessly and often felt pointless, but I believe there was loving purpose in every victory, set back, advancement, and delay. It was Jacob’s awakening. It was also our family’s. Our community’s. And the ripples are still spreading. Because God is always doing so much more than we know.

Jacob in his old room before we packed up to move to Dallas, the sign he made in ninth grade still posted above the door.

Today is my 39th Mother’s Day. His 39th birthday. The story we’re in continues to unfold. It’s a story of God’s grace and faithfulness. A story of beauty and redemption. A love story of epic proportions, written by an Author whose presence drenches every page with eternal purpose. As Jacob penned not long before his injury and taped above his bedroom door, “Today is the greatest day, and I am in it.”

Jacob

Today is the greatest day, Jacob, and you are in it. A world changer in God’s upside-down kingdom. My first Mother’s Day gift and my best one by far. I bear the scars of your birth on my body. I bear the scars of your crushing and the wonder of your rising again in my heart. I bear them all with honor, gratitude, and rest. 

Happy birthday to the feisty, strong-willed warrior who made me a mom. Today and every day, you are the gift. 


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4 responses

11 05 2020
tatiacook

SO wonderful to hear from you, Jeanne! Your words about that sweet boy (always a boy to me) are beautiful and heart-warming. I remember that curiosity and that SMILE. I loved many children before I had my own, and your three were the first! He was precious then, and I know he is precious now! Thank you for the reminder that God’s Ways are not ours – they are INFINITELY better and worthy of trust and praise! Much love to you ((hugs))

11 05 2020
jeannedamoff

Thank you, sweet Tatia! So wonderful to hear from you, too! You were a part of our family during such a formative season, and our children adored you. God’s ways truly are good, and you will always be one of His precious gifts to us! xo

11 05 2020
Kathy Cornwell

What a great expression of Gods goodwill grace and love. Jacob is so blessed to have such a strong passionate loving family to embrace him with kindness and so much love. Beautiful testament of Gods love for him. Happy birthday Jacob and many many more.

12 05 2020
jeannedamoff

Thank you, Kathy! Love you, neighbor. xo

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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