Dear Jackson: The Letter.

Jackson RaftDear Jackson:

I am typing this – your “official” ten-month letter — on a plane from DFW to LGA.

You turned seven months old and we suddenly became the jet-setting Wilcox’s. I did not exactly plan it this way.  It just sort of happened. Life happens.

By the time you’re old enough to read this, I’m sure airport codes will be like the Table of Elements for you.  Five trips by the tender age of ten months.  All things considered you’re expert travelers for your age.  I can’t promise you how you’ll fare with the table of elements.

LAX-BNA-LAX-IAD-LAX-MDW-LAX-PHL (Acela Express) IAD-LAX-LIT … home Monday via LAS-LAX. Heading to DEN next month to see Grandpa Roy and Nanny.

As I type there is a small child kicking my chair. I thought I would develop some Magic Mama Patience after giving birth — but you need to know this — you will never do this to someone and live to tell about it.

I owe you a seven-month letter … eight-month letter … nine-month letter. You’re ten months and ten days old and here it is. The ten-month letter.

For what it’s worth. I owe your brother an eight-month letter … nine-month letter … ten-month letter. Just to keep things even, I’ll make sure he never sees the ten-month letter.

I’m starting to rethink the separate letter thing …

Honestly, I’ve already let the monthly letter thing go. Really I have. I am so mesmerized with the two of you, in order to be present for what I know is going to go faster than I can possibly imagine – I have to let a lot of things go. Like laundry. Drawer organization. Organic cantaloupe. Homemade muffins. Homemade anything. Feeding the cat …

Okay, I feed the cat. Not always at a time he finds acceptable.

Speaking of the cat. You and James have finally discovered Raylan. You chase him. You pull his tail. You grab his body. He has yet to raise his paw and wallop you with it. He’s a bigger person than I would be if I had twenty claws. He stands there and takes it like the 22-month old ball of fur that he is. I don’t understand it. He can easily remove himself from the situation … and yet he walks right in and sits in the middle of it.

Because it’s been so long and this is your first solo letter, I’ll start with the end of April. We returned from Nashville and life became a whirlwind.

Your Auntie Selma went into the hospital. I spent a lot of May lost in limbo visiting her.  My Dumplings share her birthday, you know.  I love looking at this picture of you — just over two months old — as she gives you a bottle at your first Thanksgiving.  So peaceful.  Oh, how I miss her.

Selma w: Jackson

We flew to Washington D.C. with KK for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and visited the WWII Memorial.

DC Trip #1

We went to Chicago for ASCO. I became Executive Director of Vital Options International after swearing I never would.

We flew to Philadelphia and filmed Living with Thyroid Cancer, where you went for a stroll with Melanie and met Ben Franklin.  Sort of.  Apparently his conversation absolutely had you mesmerized …


We went back to DC for the first stop on the Frogs for the Cure tour.


We flew to Little Rock for a visit with KK and Grandad Larry.

photo 2

And you saw Annie and Robert.

photo 1

Mama flew to Chicago for the second stop on the Frogs for the Cure tour and here she sits in NYC putting the finishing touches on this post.

They say the years are short, but the days are long. Right now I feel like it’s all short. Every single minute needs another minute added to it.  Nothing lingers.  It all keeps going.

There was never a more fitting nickname for a little boy than Action Jackson. You, my sweet son, are all action, all the time.  Within the last month you have been pulling yourself up on everything.  You stand, you sit, you creep, you crawl.  You get into everything.  You wake up standing up.  You are completely curious about the world around you in a way I hope you never lose.

I’ve always believed if your Daddy and I can raise curious and kind children we will have done most of our job.

Action Jackson

In May we started swimming lessons and you went directly to the head of the private class. The teachers thought you were the most competitive eight-month old swimmer they had seen all summer.   You went under water, you kicked, you paddled, you grabbed Mama, you grabbed the side, you even jumped in and swam to the teacher.

Jackson Swimming

… then we took a short travel break.

Upon returning from Chicago, into the water we went — only to discover your career as the next Michael Phelps had been temporarily suspended and replaced with a strong sense of  Stranger Danger. Anyone but me holding you in that saline pool sent you into a fit of temporary crying. You still went under water, kicked and paddled … but now it was between sobs.

Despite the fact that you yammer your Daddy’s name all the time — you definitely needed your Mama.  There was a part of me that loved having your little hands grab my neck and hang on for dear life.

As a general rule, you do not cry that much. I would say hardly ever and never for no reason. There is this whine thing you do when you want anything, but that is about as far as your annoying habits go. Even when your brother pulls your hair – half the time you think it is hilarious.

I love the fact that you find a great deal of life hilarious. Especially your Mama. I don’t have to work that hard at it. I find life rather amusing, myself. I just wish it was slower.

Slower so I could savor it. Savor you. Savor this time with you.

Friday night all of us went out to dinner with KK and Grandad at Longhorn Steakhouse. It was so lovely. We discovered you and James like medium rare filet, which simply proves there is Texas blood running through you somewhere. So far you love eggs, tuna fish, avocado and medium rare steak.

Your father has had no say in the matter.

We’ve been in Hot Springs Village with KK and Grandad for ten days, but given the chaos of our work lives it looked a lot more like a traveling circus than we ever planned for it to.  But in the few moments when we were still and connected as a family it was wonderful. I tried to savor it. I hope we are able to repeat it without the traveling circus part at Christmas.

You and your brother love to go out to eat, which is a very good thing since your Mama has no time to cook.

Taking on the Vital Options Executive Director position is a lot more than I really wanted to do at this point in my life. In many ways it’s as if I have gone back to school to learn a whole new set of skills — while simultaneously hoping I don’t screw up the raising of you and your brother.

I promised myself — not to mention you and your brother — I would not work myself to death after you arrived. But sometimes life brings on a challenge or an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. This is one of those.  It called me in a way nothing had in a long time.  Perhaps it was Selma whispering in my ear.  Perhaps it was God.  Perhaps it was my own voice in my head.  We never really know the full story of a turn in the road of life until we pull up our big girl — or in your case big boy — pants and walk down that road.

I’m walking.

This week we spent just over 24 hours with these two beautiful ladies.  I honestly could not do any of this without them.  You thought they were pretty fun, too!


And, of course, I could’t do any of the business of raising you and James without your Daddy.

Daddy and Jackson

I love you to the moon and way past that. Way past.



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