learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

Tag: j-bear being j-bear

5 Years of Learning

Before I get into this post just a reminder that we are trying to help Madison at Madison’s Adventures finish her fundraising to meet her own Brooklyn! You can read her story and donate here: https://www.razoo.com/story/4-Paws-For-Madison

babywithpuppy_markedFive years ago a little boy stormed into my life and changed everything. He wasn’t even born yet and he was writing his own agenda; charting his own course. There’s a due date? That doesn’t work for me, I’ll arrive when I’m ready… or when you evict me because I fell asleep and forgot to leave. I’m supposed to grow how fast and on what curve? Throw that out the window! Oh, you think you have when I’ll walk and talk scheduled? Well I’ll tell you what I think of that… When I dang well feel like it!

And that’s been how J-Bear does J-Bear his entire life so far.

dynamicduo_markedHe has worked so hard in the past year. He met his best friend Brooklyn last October and formed a unique and immediate bond with her. Brooklyn had an atypical 4 Paws story. She never had a traditional foster, only prison. She was considered feisty and stubborn. She is 70lbs of sass, silly and most of all love. She could not have been better matched to her boy and we miss her incredibly while she’s back at 4 Paws training.

The day Brooklyn came home, life changed. The entire world we knew shifted and it shifted for the better. J has grown such confidence in himself. He initiates conversations with new children and occasionally adults. He says “hi!” and even looks after people who seem to need help, displaying an intense and deep sense of empathy for those around him. He helps those smaller than him, studies those bigger than him and accepts each person exactly as they are. It is an unfettered, joyful and amazing way of looking at the world, one I hope lasts for a very long time.

selfie_markedHe has braved doctor visits, receiving glasses and even getting x-rays. He has talked on the phone, learned to work a computer at school and made true friends. There is no one apart from the station itself that knows Nick Jr’s lineup better than J, nor does another soul likely know the name of all the characters as well as him. It’s kind of scary the knowledge he retains… Scary and impressive.

This little boy who started out as a sweet, snuggly, smiling baby has grown into a rambunctious, loving and caring boy. Today, he chose a special new stuffie for himself that looks just like his beloved Brooklyn. He picked out a bed, a leash, a collar and a bowl for her too. The moment we were in the car, he was cuddling her and said “Brookie sick”. I asked what was wrong. He answered “Brookie belly”….

firsthaircut_markedNothing is missed. Nothing is overlooked by him. He listens and understands everything around him, filing it away for when the knowledge may be useful. He understands Brooklyn’s being away better than others may expect. He even surprised me with his depth of understanding as until today, he’s not said anything directly about it outside asking for her. It reinforces that I will never stop explaining things to him with care and reason, never dumbing things down or withholding his chance to take in the knowledge.

He knows. He’s so smart, so sweet, so amazing. I cannot believe this is my little boy and I’ll thank God every day for the gift of having such a blessing in my life.

Here’s to the first five years. Let’s see what the future holds from here.

Happy Happy Sad Happy Mad

Believe it or not, the title of this post could be considered directions from where we live to the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston.

They’re in J-bear-ese, of course, but it’s still true.

We drive down I-93 south on a regular basis and there is nothing that J loves more in this world right now than to get into the car and drive down to “bridge”. Sometimes, any old bridge will do but more often than not it has to be his bridge, the majestic cable stay span of the Zakim in Boston.

The drive is amusing. Each street light is labelled “happy” because, when seen through his lens, they look like great big smiles. Then, as you get closer to the city, you come across “sad”, a span of streetlights where one side has lost its lamp. He chirps “I fix it!” every time we come across it. “Mad” appears when the “happy” streetlights change to a different sort and a few look like angry eyes.

This is most of our drives now, not just the ones into the city. He sees happy, sad or mad in so many shapes and places. He can spot a school bus at an incredible distance. He can notice all sorts of landscape details but he labels them all in his own manner so sometimes it takes me a few passes until I fully comprehend the wonder he is showing me.

I love it.

I hope he always sees happy, sad and mad everywhere and that the world always holds such vivid yet benign personality. This is how J sees the world and it feels like a gift when he shares it with the rest of us.


Little bear is currently struggling with a case of pneumonia, the poor kiddo. It started right on his birthday too and has yet to let him go. He’s on antibiotics that hopefully will get him right as rain again but as we wait for them to kick in he is so wildly out of sorts. I am glad I trusted my instinct in thinking his cough sounded unusually terrible rather than letting myself write it and his unusually out of sorts behavior off before it could get much worse.

Now to hope he’s back to himself before summer school begins in July!

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