A loss may help others find things. Our loss has helped others all over the world find things like Jesus, God, a Creator, time to give an extra hug or kiss, time to just be a family, time to talk longer with a friend, time to take a picture or video, time to just stare into another human's eyes and just be thankful for another breath. With Jacob, I was in the midst of it all, finding so much for myself and for my family. But today we had a different experience on a much much smaller scale that gave me an opportunity to observe true lasting character from my boys without the huge emotional attachment to the situation.
Today began as the average day. I got up, got the boys breakfast as Jason slept a bit longer and I headed downstairs to begin our school day. Jason got up and headed outside whistling...that is odd. Jonathan came and informed me and Joshua that there was a dog! It was a beautiful young boxer. He was very friendly, obedient, sweet and well taken care of. To be cautious, the boys stayed at the door inside while Jason and I played with him a bit to feel him out and be as sure as we could that he was an ok dog for the boys to be around....he was so nice and sweet and very gentile with the boys. Knowing this dog just got himself into some trouble, we took appropriate measures to find his owners...we called the SPCA to see if anyone reported a missing dog, we called the town dog warden, we listened for neighbors who may be calling for him, we took him for a walk around the neighborhood to see if anyone recognized him. Nothing. So, the question came up...."Can we keep him?" I made sure the boys understood that he was not our dog....he belonged to another family and I asked them to think about how they would feel if they lost something and what they would want someone to do if they found it. They immediately took it all to heart. Joshua thought up making "Dog Found" signs to hang up around the neighborhood....I got on the computer to make them up, Joshua grabbed them from the printer, grabbed the tape from the drawer, climbed in the car and chose the stop signs to hang them on. He cared for the dog, as did Jonathan, by playing ball, laying in the grass with him, petting him, changing his water about 40 times, tying to get him to eat, giving him a treat, and sympathizing with him when he whined if we left him alone.....the boys named him just about everything in the book....Rusty, Boy, Max, Watch, Smiley, ....the list goes on.
Although there was a family who was panicked by their loss, their loss helped us find something.....more amazing qualities in our boys. Caution: blunt, seemingly insensitive statement to follow.....The very night Jacob died, as I was putting Joshua to bed he asked, "Can we get a dog now?" Please know that he in no way was replacing his love for his baby brother with a dog.....understand that this question came up well before Jacob was here and while Jacob was with us. But sympathizing with Jacob's time and care here, Joshua realized we had a lot going on and knew we just couldn't do it. But his heart still wanted a dog so he asked that night when to him it seemed as if life just got less hectic ....talk about tugging on heart strings! (smart boy!) But, we turned him down again (heartless, I know). So today, when that dog was in the yard Joshua told Jason that this was a dream come true...that it was a great day to have a dog......he appreciated what he had that moment knowing that it may be gone the next. We waited until about 4:30pm and then we decided to take the dog (named "Watch" at the time) on a walk to see if anyone recognized him yet. We walked to the stop sign (the boys laughed every time Watch lifted his leg to pee on some one's mailbox!) with no success. But on our way back a vehicle slowly approached us. The driver rolled down her window and said, "Is that Leroy?!??!?" Watch went nuts. His owners. My boys faces. He lived just a few houses down from us. The lady thanked us for caring for him, let us know they were so worried about him, and she asked some questions about our day. She had been worried all day about having to tell her little boy that his dog was missing. We introduced ourselves. Then out of the car came her little boy who was the same age as Jonathan. She introduced him. His name is Jacob. My boys were so honored to bring Leroy back to this 4 year old boy who shared the same name as their sweet baby brother. They got to bring another Jacob some joy.
When that vehicle approached me, I knew it was his owners. My heart sunk for my boys. But they just rejoiced....I couldn't believe it. Joshua's dream of a dog, so real, so tangible, but too short. Just like so many of our family, friends and fans can't understand how we can rejoice in our journey with Jacob. Today, in Joshua and Jonathan's hearts, they knew Leroy was not theirs to keep...although he was a dream come true, they knew he wasn't our's. They knew they were on borrowed time and they enjoyed every minute they had with him until they had to give him back to his owner. They understand and learned more about what happened with Jacob than I realize. Nine months ago, in Joshua and Jonathan's hearts, they knew Jacob was not theirs to keep. They knew they were on borrowed time and they enjoyed every minute they had with him until they had to give him back to his Maker. It has made them the boys they are today, appreciating every moment of joy they are given. I am a proud mama. Thank you Leroy for going for a neighborhood walk into our yard and spending the day with us. Thank you Jacob Ryan for being used to build true lasting character in your big brothers.