Calisthenics For Your Heart

I’d been kind of melancholy the last few days; you know, the “too much sugar, too much wine, impatient for more Mueller indictments NOW” kind of post-Halloween malaise. So when I read 9-year-old Jacob Thompson’s heartbreaking story, it was a powerful reminder to look the f*ck around and remember how much there is to be grateful for.

Since losing my dad to cancer 12 years ago, witnessing it ravaging other people’s families just guts the hell outta me. Not to even mention CHILDREN.

So this evening my little guy and I sat down together and made cards for Jacob. When I first showed him Jacob’s picture and told him we were making cards for our friend who’s sick, he said, “Who? I don’t know him.” I said, “Yes, you do. He’s a fellow Child of God.” He smiled and nodded and picked up a crayon and jumped in with the stickers.

When the cards were done, he kept walking around the house finding more things to “send to Jacob.” Like his ski mask. And play-dough. And a dried-up dandelion from his treasure chest.

The worst pain a parent could ever imagine is the loss of a child. I can’t even type that without feeling my throat close up with anxiety. When D was born, I knew parenting would change my life; but one of the ways this shows up most regularly is in feeling, really being wrecked by, the depth of suffering other mothers experience. This inherent heartbreak of motherhood is knowing that our children will suffer, and knowing that we are powerless to prevent much of it.

So here’s a little something you can do to feel connected. To share a glimmer of hope in the suffering. Hospital address is right there. Word is that Jacob digs penguins, especially.

I want to do more of this small but big work, especially with my son. Feels like calisthenics for my heart.


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