I Am Jack’s Innocence

I Am Jack’s Innocence


A few weeks ago I was doing something I do quite often when something miraculous happened.  This may seem like a rather unusual event in the normal course of life, but I have come to embrace what others might right off as happenstance or coincidence as a glimpse at the inner-workings of the universe.  In short, I see miraculous things happen quite often since I’ve been given a new set of glasses in which to view this gorgeous world.

Jack and I had gone to the park early in the day.  There was a girl there, maybe just over one year old.  Now, Jack is typically rolling with the boys that are slightly older than him.  He likes to hone his running and jumping game, so I was surprised when he abandoned the boys and just started running back and forth with this little girl.  He wasn’t necessarily playing with her either as much as he was trying to entertain her.  He made funny faces at her and she’d giggle.  He followed her around the way, well, the way a big brother might look after his little sister.  But, that wasn’t the thing I was alluding to earlier.  That happened later that night after Jack’s bath.

Anyway, Jack was standing naked waiting for the arrival of his pajamas.  As I helped him button up his PJ shirt he took notice of something new on his wall.  Earlier in the day I had hung up all of the birthday cards he received for turning three.  He looked at this reminder of the day of celebration we’d thrust upon him and he said:  “I see Gwen.”  He said that he sees his little sister.  The child who never quite made it to Earth.  The child whose lifeless body I held in my arms months earlier, whose name I didn’t even think that Jack was aware of.  Now, Jack certainly lacked the cognitive ability to comprehend the weight of the situation at the time.  He knows what a baby is.  He knew that mommy had a baby in her tummy, but he didn’t seem to grasp that she wasn’t around anymore.  We had a short talk with him on the day about her dying and we haven’t hidden anything from him.  Allison talks to him now and then about the sister that he had and that her name was Gwen, but it never seemed to stick.  He moved on in a way I envied.  Like when a car slides out of reach under the couch, he just walked over to his puzzles instead.

Our conversation after he said that went like this:

“I see Gwen.”

“Where do you see Gwen, Jack?”

“Out the window.”

“You see Gwen out the window?”

“Yeah.  Out the window.  In the grass.”

He then decided to play a knock, knock on the door game and I didn’t push the moment that had passed back into the present.  He had, once again, moved onto another moment.  But there it was.  Jack went to sleep that night and I found myself trying to make some sort of sense of it all.  Okay, I thought, so, he’s heard us say her name.  He knows her name, I get that.  But so specific?  Out the window.  In the grass.  Did he have a dream about her?  Did something about his birthday cards pin together a few abstract memories until some sort of random babble came out of his still-developing speech center?  What DID it mean?!  Then I stopped.  I told myself something that I’ve been telling myself a lot lately.  A simple phrase that to some might be mistake for apathy, but is a simple embracing of the magic and might that exists in this universe.  I told myself “It doesn’t matter.”

I did this because no matter what explanation, super natural or mundane, that I apply it would still only be MY perception of the event and not Jack’s.  To Jack, to his brain at that moment and in that space it was that simple.  I see Gwen.  Out the Window.  In the grass.  That is all and I teared up at the sheer beauty of that.  I put my hands to my mouth and thanked whoever is looking over me for granting me a moment like that.  I got to see a glimpse of something that I am striving for, once more, illuminated through the lens of my son’s spirit.  I got to see some one untouched by the weight of the world in Jack.  I get to see it everyday.  He’s pure and blissfully ignorant of the chaos and strain that is around him.  All he sees is the beauty and the light for the most part.  He gets to do this now and even though it won’t last forever, it’s a sight to behold.  A human walking this planet that is living moment to moment because he doesn’t know any other way.  Some one that can see the God in a person’s eyes and play with their little sister in the grass despite her not physically being there.  Some one that can see her spirit in another little girl at the park  and treat her the same way he’d treat some one he loves dearly.

I gotta get there.  With the help of Jack and a few simple principles I get a little closer everyday.


  1. cmemmett says:

    thank you for continuing to share your vulnerability with such courage. you are lovingly witnessed in this extraordinary choice to meet life in the here and now!

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