(I wanted to keep writing in the spirit of the Dear Papa letters, so here is my first "Dear Jackson" letter. I promise for Jackson's sake I will try to keep them alittle bit shorter. These are for Papa, too.)
There is a man named Jimmy who sells fish at the Farmer's Market on Saturdays. I talk to Jimmy all the time. You know him. Daddy loves buying fish from him because he really cares about the fish he sells. I once asked Jimmy why his fish is so fresh and so good. He said that buying fish is all about getting in touch with rhythm. The rhythm of the fisherman, the rhythm of the ocean, the rhythm of the fish. Jimmy said that when he drives over the bridge to the island where the fisherman come in, that he knows if it is a rainy day, what it is like for the fisherman. He feels the vibe. He can feel the drums. He can feel the bass. Jimmy knows the fish and knows the rhythm.
Jackson, each day has it's own rhythm. Even before you open your eyes you can feel it. Some days you look outside and it is sunny and there are leaves on all the trees. Some days you have your favorite waffles in the morning before you even know you are hungry. Some days you hear thunder and the rain starts right away. Other days it gets dark, and the air feels so heavy, and you are yelling up at the sky, "COME ON! RAIN ALREADY!" Sometimes playing feels like a drum, "bop, bop, bop" and everything falls into place and feels just right.
Yesterday, it was Saturday, and we planned a trip into New York City on the train with Daddy and Mommy. You were so happy. When the train came you climbed on board and went to sit on the top half of the train. You asked for a ticket to give the conductor, said, "Thank You Conductor!", then watched out the window as the train pulled out of Maplewood. After the train left Newark, it slowed down and stopped for a really really long time. You were a really good boy - mostly watching videos and playing games on the iphone. It took over two hours for the train to get going again - and we finally made it into New York City. We went on the subway up to 86th St and Broadway where Daddy used to live when he first moved to the city. By the time we got out on the street it felt like something was off. No one knew why - but the train had messed up our rhythm. We went to a really old restaurant called, "Barney Greengrass" that your Pop used to love. The waiter brought you a glass of fresh orange juice, which you drank all gone, then threw the glass on the floor. You never do that. What was going on? Later you threw another glass.
After lunch, we went to Central Park and we all needed naps. Mommy because she has a baby in her tummy. Daddy because he always needs a nap on weekend afternoons. And Jackson - who takes a nap everyday, and will never admit he is ever sleepy. Mommy fell asleep under a tree with her sunglasses on. Daddy laid a sweater on the grass and cuddled Jackson in tight. "No Daddy I don't want to take a nap." "Noooooo, Daddddddy...." "nooooooo" Daddy was whispering a Curious George story in your ear. An hour and a half later, you woke up in the shade of the most beautiful day ever and you looked up at Daddy and said, "Thank You Daddy." Daddy asked, "How was your nap, Jackson?" "It was good." We then went down the hill to a garden with hundreds of tulips, the most fragrant lavender in bloom, and we all felt intoxicated by spring. Still, even with all the beauty. Even with us all being together. Our rhythm was off.
It was a but but but but day. Everything was beautiful but... but....
We still decided to go to the Jewish Museum to see a show of drawings of Curious George. Since it was the Shabbat, all the lights in the lobby of the museum were off. The gift shop was closed. The were not taking any money to come in. We went up in the museum to see the Curious George show. It turns out the people who created Curious George were Jewish. I know Jackson, you don't really know what that means yet - so I will not bore you. Let's just say it is a history of ideas, and traditions and people that connect you to the very beginning of time. After looking at some of the pictures, we went to the reading area in the middle of the exhibit. There were lots of kids sitting around reading Curious George books. They were all mostly older than you so I took you onto my lap. reached for one of the books we knew, and started reading it. You were not interested and insisted on looking at the iphone. Normally I try to limit you using the iphone too much in one day Jackson, but since our rhythm was so off, I gave it to you. Then on the pillows in the middle of the Curious George show at the Jewish Museum, surrounded by all the kids reading quietly, you started watching Curious George on the iphone with the volume really loud.
After the Museum we were pretty spent on New York City even though it was so beautiful and full of spring. We took a taxi to the train, and ran through the station to make the 5:11 train. Your mommy was carrying you, and at one point a big man almost knocked your Mommy over, and she mumbled really loudly, "Jesus!"
When we got back to Maplewood, a babysitter met us - and Mommy and Daddy went out. Jackson, it is hard to describe the night Mommy and Daddy had after you went to bed. Daddy had gotten tickets to see a comedian he knew almost nothing about. The theater was in a part of Southern Jersey that was one hour south and it felt a million miles a way. The lobby was deserted when got there just as the show was starting. Jackson, your Daddy left a part of himself at that theater. He laughed so hard he couldn't breathe. He laughed as hard as he cried when he heard your Mommy was pregnant (and that was REALLY hard!). Jackson, your Daddy is not proud of laughing so hard at some really bad jokes, but he could not help it. The night found the rhythm we couldn't find during the day. The comedian knew all about rhythm. He rocked the audience back and forth like a boat, reeled them in and out like a yo-yo and only let them up for air when he felt like it. Jackson, it hurts to laugh when you cannot breathe. When Mommy and Daddy drove home, they put on that song we all discovered last week, "Nothing But The Whole Wide World For Us." It is the song you will not let Daddy sing along to. It is the song by the guy Mommy and Daddy and saw last week in New York City.
Jackson, this morning was Sunday, and the first thing you said when you started to stir was, "Jesus!" - just like Mommy said in the train station yesterday. We went down and made waffles, put on "People Watching" and all had our rhythm back. Maybe it was all being together at home. Maybe it was the rhythm of the rain. Maybe it was the moon or the stars or maybe Jackson, we just needed the right music playing. We read out on the porch in the rain on the swing. There were puddles forming for you to splash in. We were all together. It was Sunday.
Jackson, this afternoon when the rain stopped we went out and played with your bat and ball. Daddy told you to hold the bat with two hands, which you did. He then told you to keep your eyes on the ball. You then reached over and pressed your eyes right up against the ball.
Tonight when we took a bath, I said, "Jackson you are getting so big!" And Jackson, you just looked at me and said, "And I am going to get a whole lot bigger."