Joe took this picture last year when we were in New Zealand. Craig and I exited Starbucks and saw the surf shop across the street called "Jay-Jay's". We photographed it with the intention of getting a laugh out of our son Joey, who had been called JJ/Double J by his family and close friends, almost from birth. He didn't particularly like the name when he hit his teen years, but there were a few people, such as his cousins, Brian and Jeff, and his best friend Kevin, who could still get away with it. Though it doesn't much matter, now I feel badly that Joey never saw this picture. Silly, I know.
You all probably know that I loved my son, but you may not know how much I enjoyed my son. He was a kindred spirit to me in so many ways, and we always had a lot to talk about. We both enjoyed a deep discussion, and got inspired by many of the same books, the same movies and the same food. More often, though, he exposed me to something new that ended up having real value, like the biography of Kurt Cobain and avocado toast. He never saw me as a lost cause, but was always good about engaging me in contemporary thought and culture. No one else does that for me now, and sometimes I feel doomed to cluelessness, which I hate. He was my link to hipness.
I guess I was a link for him, too. I made him watch Celine Dion with me, which he hated, but patiently withstood for about 5 minutes with all kinds of hilarious mockings: "She's such a man!" I also engaged his spiritual side, and we had great discussions that cut through "churchiness" and went to the core of being human. On my last Saturday night with him, I gave him the book "Wild at Heart". We found it by his bedside the next weekend, already partly read.
My JJ is fully engaged with his spiritual side now. Sometimes I almost feel him saying, "Mom, you don't know the half of it!" That makes me feel good, like I made a positive impact on his life. He most certainly was good for me.
Proverbs 1: 8
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.