Birthday Boy

with a Children's Health Foundation poster of himself at 3

Our boy turns 5 today. He seems to have spent half his life fighting for it, but the greatest miracle of Jesse’s life so far is that he still has it.

I was lying in bed last night remembering what is probably still one of my hardest memories – a doctor holding my hand and telling me they have given Jesse every possible thing they can give him and he is still falling. That he didn’t think Jesse would make it through the night. For me, the pivotal moment was not the moment Jesse’s numbers changed and he fought his way back to life, but when Tim and I went for a walk and talked and prayed decided that we still believed what God had said – he would bring our son back from the land of his enemy. That was the moment I was so grateful for my faith in Jesus. Because it was him as God who has been man that I was listening to. And  he wasn’t “religion”. He was a powerful and present Friend – an arm around our shoulders and a certain hope spoken into our hearts. I guess in that respect, my worst moment has also become my best – through it I know that I know that I know that Jesus Christ is who he said he is.

We are just so thankful for Jesse’s life. Yesterday, after Tim brought he and Indie inside after playing tee-ball with them out the front, Jesse said plaintitively “Dad, I want to play a real game now.” And Tim said “We were just playing a “real” game Jesse. What do you mean?””No, not baseball. I want to play a real game. Like ‘Mum and Dads'”.

on Dad's slip'n'slide

I howled with laughter. This guy is so himself. At his little ‘slip’n’slide’ birthday party on the weekend, I was a little bit sad to see him watching the other boys rough and tumble rather than being there in the middle of them. They are brown and muscly, and Jess is very white (thanks to a haemoglobin of 72 … instead of 130) and holds back. But more and more I think it’s the surprisingly loving and off-centre

with Gryffin & Clark at his party

way of looking at things he has that will make Jesse the man I will most admire. I’m not saying it to placate myself. I just think life gives us opportunities, and how we live with them determines our character. So far, through absolutely no control of mine or Tim’s, I think Jesse is humbling me and making himself a giant with his tolerance, his understanding and his tenderness.

This is what his life entails at age 5: 5 needles a day because his pancreas still does not work. One of the needles is a very painful one for a blood clot. He has a catheter in the bottom of his neck. He takes without a murmur 22 pills a day. He must drink 2.2L of fluids and cannot be in the sun very much because his meds are so strong they kill his body’s ability to endure the sun’s effects. He expels so much urine I get up and change him twice a night. He currently has an immune system that as the doctor said yesterday, is “so low it barely registers”. Because of the c.difficile, his body was so dehydrated that it turns out his veins collapsed. So his creatinine is still high and may take a month to recover. He goes to the hospital for bloodwork twice a week; is hooked up to an IV every 2 weeks and still has at least 2 surgeries to go – one on Friday to remove the stent in his kidney.

with his dragon cake

But this is how he looks: chirpy. Peppy. Little jumps of enthusiasm for any little thing he is involved in. His face this morning when he saw the balloons I had draped around his and Indie’s room was lit up with joy. He is having a tutor for an hour a day right now to get ready for school in September. He missed so much that we are just helping him be able to jump right in. He loves it. We went over and over that you could actually tell Mum and Dad something you’d like for your birthday. All he could come up with was “Well, I want a cake.”

I guess thinking of all these snippets of him make me so grateful for the child he is. His sisters fill my heart with joy. But Jesse has come into his own through harder means, and today, I just feel so proud of him. He has been God’s teaching vessel for me – a hands-on demonstration of His grace and absolute faithfulness.

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27 thoughts on “Birthday Boy

  1. Awesome. I’m constantly amazed at Jesse. What an amazing little boy he is. Amidst it all, happy, chirpy and full of the joy of life. God is so good!

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSE..
    Happy Birthday from Mississippi…. you are an amazing boy and a tetiment to our Lord and Saviour.
    God Bless You…
    John & Wilma VanHouwelingen

  3. Happy Birthday Jesse!!!!!!! Love your birthday pictures. What an awesome cake!!

    Love from Kyle and his family 🙂

  4. Dostoevski said once, “There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.
    Jesse, baby, you are worthy. You make us smile just hearing your delight in life . It is a gift that most of us take for granted. Laugh , on , young brother.

  5. Ah Kim, if he were my little guy I’d be bustin’ my buttons, too!!! And a very happy birthday to Jesse! Hope you’re saving these entries so that some day when he’s older he gets to read what you wrote today. God bless!

  6. Happy Birthday Jesse!! Blessings on your birthday!! Praying for you my dear Jesse!! Have a blessed one!!
    Take care always.

    We love you and keep you always in our prayers.

    -Estela

  7. Hi, Jesse – it looks as if you had a very happy birthday – slide, dragon cake & all!!! You’re probably fast asleep now, so it’s too late to wish you a happy birthday, so we’ll say we’re praying for you as you start a new year with Jesus right with you every second! Hugs & some kisses, too.

  8. Happy birthday Jesse from some people you don’t know in Perth, in Australia. We love your dragon cake! My 5 year old Ben asked if he could have a piece.

  9. Happy Birthday Jesse!! You are such an awesome inspiration to all who read about your amazing fight. Such a little trooper-keep going you WILL win the battle Father God is at your side. Love and blessings to you all. Praise the Lord xx

  10. Happy Birthday Jesse. May the year ahead be one filled with good health and happiness. Good health when all the trials and tribulations of the last years will become a distant blur.

  11. Wow what a report,you are amazing family.why are you so surprised that Jessie is like he is ,after all he is 1third dad 1 third Mum and 1 third himself.He cannot fail can he ?with parents such as you and Tim and his strenght and determination,(even thought he doesn’t even realise he has it )at 5 years old he is amazing and so are you both.I pray God continues to bless you and that every day see Gods power in your life continue.Godbless you all.Suex

  12. Hi Kim and All,

    Somehow yesterday got away on me and I was not aware of Jess’s birthday. May he be blessed with many happy returns full of a healthy life and tons of joy.

    I do pray that things will smooth out and life will begin to have some normality.

    There was a song years ago in which one of the lines was, “It is no secret what God can do. What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.” He is a very busy God but each of us is so important to Him…isn’t it marvelous that He cares for each of us so much?

    Always in my prayers,
    Katherine

  13. Happy shmappy Birthday Jesse!
    Turning 5 years old is a pretty big deal. You are a lucky boy to have such a wonderful cake. It is beautiful! My kids, Andrew, Rachel, Victoria and Christine and Brad and I pray every night for you at our supper. We pray that you feel well and can enjoy eating anything you like!

  14. Hey you guys! I know I’ve been off the radar for a while, but I have just caught up with your lives over the last months and am amazed. God really has you in the palm of His hands.
    Jess, I can’t believe you’re 5 already??? I last saw you at 2 (I still have the video of you dancing in your sister’s fairy shoes!!!)- it’s been too long and I hope I get to catch up with you all soon.You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sorry I am so bad at keeping in touch – life is hectic (though how I can say that when I read your stories…!!!). We are in the process of moving and will be in a new pad in about 3 weeks – will fill you in soo.
    Love and prayers and hugs to all. keep holding on and trusting our Father, you’re all AMAZING!!!

  15. Belated Happy Birthday Jesse! Sounds like you had a fun day. Your cake was really special!
    You sure are an amazing family who have touched many lives with your story of God’s goodness and your great trust in Him. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  16. Happy birthday Jesse!

    The Parkers,

    It is instructive to follow and pray with you from afar, and to appreciate your patient endurace of all the ups and downs in Jesse’s care these past couple of years. Your fervent trust in the Sovereign Lord is an inspiration. I am sure the Lord has a great purpose in all this, which we are yet to discover!

    The Lord is our Help is ages past, and will continue to be our only Hope in the years to come.

    Fondly,
    David

  17. Happy birthday Jesse!

    The Parkers,

    It is instructive to follow and pray with you from afar, and to appreciate your patient endurance of all the ups and downs in Jesse’s care these past couple of years. Your fervent trust in the Sovereign Lord is an inspiration. I am sure the Lord has a great purpose in all this, which we are yet to discover!

    The Lord is our Help is ages past, and will continue to be our only Hope in the years to come.

    Fondly,
    David

  18. Yes, our J -man is truly amazing !!! We . the lucky neighbours across the street, got a visit and a personal account of his harrowing experience (straight from the horse’s mouth , as they say) as we sat together on our porch steps ! He played, kidded Bob whom he calls Mr. Piggy because Bob has a sweet tooth and likes to wolf down the birthday cake and sweets that Jesse brings over for him (and doesn’t leave any for the “wife” !!!! )He talked away , his inquisitive little mind wanting to know about everything (like Bob, why do you wear your underwear when you come out for your newspaper in the mornings ?????)

    He brings great joy and daily smiles to our lives and we marvel at the fact that he is a caring , fun loving and an outgoing Mr. Congeniality in spite of what he has been through and the medical trials and tribulations that he faces each and every day ! ( I , personally , would be one king sized GROUCH)

    We love you, brave and sweet boy !

    Bob and M.A.

  19. Love the birthday photos – great to see Jesse looking so happy! May I also say what an amazing cake! Was having a clean out of photos and organizing them and found photos of us making your 21st cake – the castle. It made me smile….xxx

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