Jake and Beth

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Jake and Beth

 I always tell Beth how unique her relationship is with Jake. 

She, of course, asked me to write about it to offer her some insight, and maybe shed a little light on it for the world. I’ve stewed on this for weeks. I’m not sure how to accurately describe the bond between them. 

It began typically enough, and I think stems from many of the foundations that make for strong (if sometimes strained) relationships for all people. Let’s consider the facts; and by facts I mean things I have intuited:

  •  Jake is Beth’s firstborn.
  • Jake is a boy, and we all know moms and boys have a special bond.
  • Jake has ASD, and will likely require above-average help from his Mom for the rest of his life.
  • Jake is the reason Beth gave up her career, and with it a large part of her identity.
  • Jake is the reason Beth is ready at a moment’s notice to go head-to-head with the world to defend his rights or honor.
  • Jake speaks a language only Beth fully understands.
  • Jake can get Beth to buy $50 worth of groceries when they just ran to the store “to get some milk.”
  • Jake will climb over, under, or around anyone who gets between him and his mother if he gets hurt.
  • Jake is a huge source of pride, fear, guilt, uncertainty, love, protection, stress. 

This, of course, is only the beginning. Every mother, upon reading this, I’m sure, can nod appreciably at many of the items listed. Somehow the totality of each statement, combined with the rest, is what makes for the unique makeup of their bond. 

Jake and Beth share secrets.

“Don’t tell Dad!” occurs between them more than I care to know.

Jake has taken to calling me Ryan. In context, it’s usually, “No, Ryan, I’m talking to Mom!” It’s always Mom, very rarely Beth; and Bethany when it’s by her given name.

They even have their own version of a secret handshake. “Big lips and eyes and piggy teeth” or something like that, is the command. Beth purses her lips, makes bug-eyes, and snorts like a pig. It wins Jake over every single time. 

Every parent loves their children the same amount. HOW they love those children is where the difference lies. I wouldn’t say Beth loves any of the other kids less than Jake, but perhaps the difference lies in the depth or complexity of that love.

I’d love to give more details. I really would. But it’s sort of an intangible thing that I’m finding very hard to describe. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. Their love is mythical; almost magical. I’ve even started jokingly calling Jake “Oedipus” and sleeping with one eye open.

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