Jake's Dad: A Look Back

With my grandson turning 5, it made me want to reflect on what his father was like, at the same age. So with just a bit of digging I came up with wonderful reminders of his past.  It is always nice to reflect, not only on the joy and pain of motherhood but also to see the similarities they have with their own children. 

I hope my writing this does not embarrass my son. I am proud of the child he was and even more so of the man he has become. Having a mom that kept things together of his childhood and loves to write must be a nuisance of sorts. I often wonder what it would have been like to have had a mother like me.   Oh, I am far from perfect and sure made plenty of mistakes. But, I stayed around; I didn’t walk away and leave my children or stay out of touch for years during their youth. 

I have kept my son’s baby book and included pictures too in an album throughout those first 6 years of life. I wanted them to have it and I wanted to be able to reflect on it at times like this, when their children hit these milestones. Those memories are precious.

Mike was an only child and was doted on quite abit by everyone till he was about 3 1/3.  At that time in his life, his sister was born, Christina who I fondly nicknamed Boo.  I included a picture of him at that age so you could see what a precious face he had, so innocent. Constantly I heard his eyes were big and beautiful and how long his lashes were! Ironic because my daughter’s son is the one that gets those comments the most now.  His eyes are similar to his Uncle Mike’s.

Mike changed so much between the ages of 3 ½ to age 5. He grew up, went from being a baby boy to a little dude.  His interest went to so many things I see his son into, tow trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, and being a thrill seeker outside. He loved riding Big Wheels even though we lived on a hill and our driveway was rather treacherous. 

As Jake is, Mike could care less about getting dirty.  He digged in the dirt constantly, played with the trimmer if his dad let him, and hated with a passion, wearing nice clothes. His choice, sweats, the dirtier the better! I think he is more inclined to this day to prefer comfy clothes any time. But when it comes to Jake, I am not really sure. I see him dressed up so much more than Mike was. If I had attempted to dress Mike up that much, it would have created a World War in our house.  Plus he was very very hard on clothes. The knees went out quickly on everything! And his legs were so long, it was hard to find things to fit him.

Mr. I don’t care what I look like was totally different when it came to his room!
Everything had a place. And for some reason, unknown to me, his sister got such a thrill out of going in there and swiping everything on the floor just to see him get upset.  And unfortunately, since he was the older sibling, he was powerless to do much about it.  And one thing he did do, frequently, which is dead on like his son, is take all his trucks, planes and trains and line them up so that they are hypothetically hooked together in one long chain.  I would see him do this over and over again just like Jake does. (Or maybe his dad is doing it and passing it off as Jake, LOL!) 

Mike had a temper, like most little ones, when he was younger. My notes describe it pretty dead-on like what his dad calls Jake’s meltdowns.  But at age 5, they stopped.  Boy, was that a relief! With two kids, I am not sure how that would have gone over.  I think Jake’s are dwindling now, at least around Grandma and Grandpa. And that is when it matters most to us, hehe!

A really cool trait of Mike’s was his ability to be helpful with his sister.  He would play
with her, support her, and be the man around the house when I got divorced.  However, like most kids, that was not always true.  On days he was bored, he did get a kick out of teasing her!  But let anyone mess with her, she was defended, they had to go through him. 

His passion with Star Wars began at this age. Is that nuts or what?  Age 5!  Yes, that and the love of The Dukes of Hazzard. I have no idea how someone that young could or would like those two things so much but he did and as far as I know, still does.  Is there some gene or something for that to kick in so young?  He also was in love with playing Pac Man and I can admit he could kick anyone’s you-know-what. He was insanely good at video and arcade games.  Therein must lay the beginnings of his hand dexterity and his ability to master dentistry I suppose. Does Jake have that?  I am not sure honestly. He hates drawing and coloring. And Mike was an excellent artist at that age.  He could freehand draw just about anything you asked him to! 

I know his wife will be surprised to learn Mike loved running the vacuum cleaner. However, running it, not using it. So typical of the male gene, right, play house but not commit.  We all know the type and I can recall one day realizing that my son was grown up and a man, complete with qualities I didn’t put there! I think he even told me that, I am a man Mom. Basically that means back off and don’t try to be a mommy, just be a mom.  Good lesson actually!

He, by this age, had developed his love of pizza and meat, something he has to this day. And his hatred for vegetables was present as well. Fighting with him to eat them was like trying to win a war against an army with no one else on your side. He would do anything to avoid eating them, including throw up! So I gave up.  Vitamins was a mainstay for a while.  As even he says now my line, “You have to pick your battles.”

I have often told this story about my son. He was mechanically inclined when he was young. He enjoyed taking things apart. Unfortunately, it was anything; he had no discretion, and loved using screwdrivers. This list included some of the following; the telephone, the closet door knobs, the clock radio, the switch plates, basically anything he saw with a screw. And then, he sometimes forgot how to put them back together! It made life interesting and caused a lot of surprises, and predicaments.

Mike hated loud noises at this age. Most of his friends would find this unbelievable, but even something as small as a cap gun irritated his ears. Balloons, fireworks and such would send him to his room to avoid the loud bang.  But he was not a crier over it and never spoiled anyone else’s fun. He was a very good boy with a happy disposition. Like Jake, he enjoyed making people smile and being pleasant.

He was a great sleeper.  In fact, he insisted on going to bed if I tried to keep him up late!  How many kids are like that?  He just insisted I read him a book every night and then he would want me out of his room and to sleep he went.  His favorite book was one called Joe’s Big Trailer Truck or a a Curious George book. But it never failed, whatever time he went to bed, he was up at the crack of dawn, and I mean, early!  Like 6 a.m. as far back as I can remember! He was and is a morning person. 

Both Mike and Jake are happy boys.  Both were a delight to be around and enjoy typical boy things. It may sound cliche but it is so clear watching Jake, the small things are cute reminders of Mike. Jake has this ability to make you laugh that, anyone that knows Mike even half as well as me, knows that is his dad through and through.  Mike’s favorite song, at that age, was Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield because I think he loved upbeat music. Ironic that he did ‘…find a woman like that’ and no one could be happier for him than I! 

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