The World At 14

So much of my life over the past two years has been a blur.

Yes, I know much of that is wrapped up in the coronavirus and how it’s affected every person in every area of the globe no matter who they are.

But for me, personally, it’s been nowhere more apparent than in watching my son, Jackson, in his teens.

He was 12 when the world took a sharp turn in March of 2020 and as I write these words, he celebrates his 14th birthday. Just wrapping my head around the fact that I have a teenager is strange enough, but due to the virus itself, we haven’t seen Jax as much as we did prior to 2020.

Much of this was a result of his mother and I doing our damnedest to keep him from testing positive for the virus. While no efforts are considered foolproof, it was less because of fear of Jax getting COVID and more because there is so little that our mostly low verbal son would be able to express to us if he was sick.

If you’ve followed my writing for awhile, you’ll know that Jackson’s autism is in many ways his superpower. He is almost always a bright light whether he’s singing, dancing, putting together Legos or watching a movie. We’ve always been able to ebb and flow with the fact that what Jackson couldn’t express in words, he could achieve in action or other means of expression.

And autism aside, he is coming more into his own as a teenager. Slowly, he is starting to speak more and not just by scripting answers. The teenager in him is expressing his opinion, cracking jokes and, if the questions are simple, he can give you a genuine response.

Of course, there are the very teen aspects of body odor, body hair, and just enough rebellion to keep the rest of us wondering what’s going on in that mind of his.

For myself, my life completely changed 14 years ago when Jackson came into this world. I know how being a part of his world has made me better and watching the young man he’s turning into is fascinating.

His little brother, Sebastian, remains completely over the moon with his big brother. It’s arguably his favorite time when Jackson is with us (despite the fact that most 14 year old kids don’t want to hang out with a 4 year old).

And to the boy who continue to transform in front of our eyes, we wish you the happiest of birthdays. You continue to make us proud.