At 4, Jonathan was all heart and green snot. His eyes were huge and brown, his voice muffled by the constant congestion he suffered. We all suffered. I think every person that knew J-Bud carried an extra kleenex in those days. Jay was an instant mascot, carried on shoulders by Young Life boys and constantly proposed to by Young Life girls with a twinkle in their eye. Within minutes of meeting Curt for the first time, Jonathan told him frankly, “I have 84 girlfriends.”
Jay’s dad is tall, pale, and (forgive me, John) closer to bald than thick-n-wavy. He is also a Calvin grad, though it would take me another 5 years and a move to Grand Rapids to appreciate that quality. Renee is so very much shorter than John, fair-skinned, light brown hair. Jonathan, child number 3, was little… little with thick, curly, dark hair, a huge smile, and brown skin. He was, you see, adopted at birth. Very much John and Renee’s… but nothing, in essence, like them… save the charming personality.
One morning, Jay burst through their door and attacked his mom, Renee, still in bed. “Mom!” he yelled (because Jay is not quiet). “Mom! Guess what?!”
“What, Jonathan? WHAT.”
“I do not look like you,” he declared triumphantly. Four-year olds are so triumphant.
In an instant, Renee realized that the time had come to talk about this whole adoption thing. That Jay had finally realized he was different than the rest of the family. That his hair was different, his skin was different, his life had started very different than the rest of the family. She was not prepared to have this discussion with sleep still in her eyes and the boys just coming back from haircuts in town.
“No,” she said, “You don’t look like me.”
And Jonathan interrupted (because Jay interrupts), “I look just like Daddy.”
Renee looked at his freshly shaved head… a summer haircut to ease the afro craziness. And she looked at her tall, lanky, bald husband…
And she realized Jay was right.
Those flowers up there…
they’re technically weeds.
I didn’t plant them, didn’t plan on them.
But, I love them. They’re gorgeous.