Twist and Shout

Jackson is in the bathroom with the door closed.   I am watching one of the playoff games in the den.

The door of the bathroom swings open.  Jackson calls out from the bathroom, “Daddy, I don’t need privacy anymore.  You can come here.”   Jackson is sitting on the toilet looking up at me, ”Daddy I love you.   And I love our home.  And Daddy, I really like my name, Jackson.”   Jackson is can now have any car he wants when he can drive.

It is funny the moment that Jackson decides to let something capture his imagination. A song.  A person.  An idea.   This last weekend, he discovered The Beatle's, “Twist and Shout” and could not let go. NOT the Shea Stadium screaming mayhem, but the controlled Ed Sullivan show lip sync with John Lennon singing lead, the barely contained half smile harmonies, and the long beautiful bow at the end.  He made me put it on over and over again all weekend, and each time he heard the first note would yell out, “LET’S DANCE!”

Late last night, ten minutes before the end of watching, "Moneyball", we heard Jackson making sounds upstairs.  We had finally been awake long enough to watch a movie - and cuddled up on a cold winter night to do something so normal that we never get to do.  So we paused the movie and I went up to find Jackson curled on the floor at the top of the steps.  He looked up and said, “Daddy, I have been trying so hard to get back to sleep and I can’ do it.”   Then his eyes welled up, and....I just scooped him up in my arms and held him so tight curled up inside my arms.  Back in bed I told him how much I love being his Dad. How much I love seeing the world  through his eyes - the way he looks out from the train windows, the way he is so excited seeing New York City when he first walks out of his favorite entrance from Penn Station - and especially hearing him sing so loudly every shabbat with his class.  As I was whispering, Jackson didn’t say anything.  He was already on his way back to sleep.   I was just planting seeds....bulbs...that just hang out underground until it is time for them to poke up through the ground and grow.

Jackson and I have been talking about planting a hidden treasure in the backyard. What will go in that special box?   What he doesn’t know yet, is that we are planting treasures for eachother all the time. When I am hitting a wall at work, I open one of Jackson’s treasures and it sets me free.   One day, when Jackson is needing to feel loved, he can just open the door to last night and have all that love, like a coat over a puddle.

While I write here mostly about my own experience....a big part of that is Stephie. Stephie spreads so much joy, so much  love  - just by the sound of her voice, just by the trust she frees us all with to be who we are.   Some mornings, when  I get to sleep in, the first thing I hear is the boys and Stephie just so happy on the first floor.   Dancing.  Singing.  Making breakfast   She fills our pockets and hearts with so many secret treasures - we are filled up like the little Chinese brother who swallowed the sea.

This  morning we are talking about Martin Luther King with Jackson.  MLK is not Twist and Shout yet.  Another seed waiting for it’s moment.  Still, the house is filled with Nina Simone and Mahalia Jackson and we are thinking about a man who inspired us all.