Jackson and Parker

My boy Jackson is a handful.

He is an active, testosterone infused seven year old who is long on energy and short on impulse control. Raising him is as exhausting as it is entertaining.

But beneath all the wildness of Jackson, is a tender heart.

It is easy to miss. When in trouble, my little monkey might hand over any unlucky soul standing nearby if it would allow him to escape punishment.

But if you get a chance to really see Jackson’s heart, you will see it bruise and bleed at the thought of someone suffering.

I had a peak at his sweet heart yesterday. As I hollered at him to hurry and get in the car for school, I heard a horrific, ear piercing shriek.

“Mommy! Mommy! The worst thing has happened! The bird — the bird is hurt!” Jackson was frantic and inconsolable as he pointed to a small bird lying in the driveway, struggling and failing to fly away. (And if you know Jackson, that child does frantic like no other.)

Now, while I rescued many a wounded bird in my childhood, even sending a tar-coated pigeon in a pet taxi to a wildlife rescue an hour out of the city with my parents’ credit card, I no longer have any desire to nurse a parasite loaded sparrow back to health.

I went and inspected the bird who now appeared lifeless.

I got Jackson in the van, trying to console him that the bird had died and there wasn’t anything we could do.

As we drove to school, I felt for my son who was grieving over a wild bird. But I was relieved to see that my son’s compassionate heart was alive and well, and without letting Jackson see, I smiled a little.

Then tonight, Jackson made me smile again.

Even though Jackson has never met Parker, 5 Minutes for Special Needs‘ editor Tammy’s son, Jackson adores little Parker.

He prays for him regularly and longs to play with him. I can just imagine how he would tend to Parker if given the chance. He would just love on that little guy!

When Parker is sick and in the hospital, Jackson’s voice cracks with worry as he prays for him or asks me, “When will he be better?”

So tonight, when Jackson was pestering me to play video games on my computer, I told him that he could actually play video games and it would earn money for Parker.

“You mean I can earn REAL money for Parker JUST by playing video games?!? SWEET — I am going to play every day!”

And Jackson played his little heart out, “I am earning sooo much for Parker!”

I didn’t have it in me to tell him that his score wasn’t determining the amount earned. He was so excited at the thought that as his fingers flew, he was sending money to Parker.

“Boy, Parker is going to feel better in seconds — everybody is playing for him!”
Jackson was simply thrilled.

Playing for Parker
I wish it were so simple. But at least as Jackson played the video game, he felt like he was helping his little friend.

While it certainly won’t make Parker “better” and it might not even earn that much for his medical care, we can actually all follow Jackson’s lead and help Parker by taking a break and playing video games at Playing for Parker.

Thanks Jackson for caring about sweet, little Parker!!!


  1. says

    What an awesome story! Your little boy truly has a heart of gold.

    My 4 year old is a lot like Jackson. He is rambunctious, energetic, and definitely all boy. But, he is the most caring little boy that I have ever seen. I have been dealing with post-partum depression and there are moments when I will sit on the couch and just cry. Jace will always sit on the couch beside me, put his arms around me, and tell me how much he loves me. He’s like this with everyone he knows. He can’t stand to see anyone or anything hurting.

    Our prayers are with Parker. Every night my kids pray for Parker, only they call him “the other Parker” since their new little brother is also named Parker.

    Thank you for sharing such a sweet story with us. Be proud, Mom! You’ve got a wonderful little boy who is going to grow up into an amazing man.

  2. says

    And cue the tears… my 9 year old is the same way. Our boys would get along famously. Bruthas from anutha mutha lol

    I hadn’t considered having the kids play to help Parker. Such a great idea I will have them do it later.

    Your son is sweet. I recall the best thing a teacher ever said to me during a conference – we are our children’s ONLY advocates, and we need to fight the good fight for them (my son is one of the oldest in his class, and most gifted intellect-wise, and so he’s easily bored, and often gets in trouble – she was addressing this to me during a conference), that all they have is us to rely upon when needed. It goes without saying, as parents of course, but in some ways, it didn’t until then as far as his schooling goes. I never ever considered that a tired, overworked teacher wouldn’t recognize what my son was, and wouldn’t want to help. His teacher said they might “peg” him as something else, and we’d be his only advocates in his life to ‘fight the good fight’ to protect him.

    So you fight that fight for him, long on energy, short on impulse control. He sounds as though he, too, is smart as whip, with intelligence coming out of his ears, with the hugest heart imaginable, but quite capable of passing the buck if in trouble (just like mine).

    You’re doing well, momma. Does my heart good :)

    Alright, off to go wipe some tears.. damn post-pregnancy hormones…

  3. says

    Dear Jackson,

    I wanted to come and thank you for all of your prayers and for all of your love for Parker.

    I truly believe that it because of prayers, especially the prayers of those who have hearts as good and pure as yours, that Parker is growing and getting better.

    Your love and prayers are so very healing. They bless Parker’s health and my heart.

    With much love and thankfulness,

    Parker’s Mama

  4. says

    He’s such a sweet adorable boy with a big heart. It’s “funny” how we notice these traits in our children at the most inopportune moments, but it’s important that we do. I love how you stop and notice these moments. I know it makes me appreciate my children even more when I do. Beautiful story. I have Parker’s button on my blog and I hope he’s doing better.

  5. says


    Your son sounds so much like my oldest. And my oldest gets his heart from his Mommy. It is sometimes a huge burden to have such a soft heart but it’s one of the greatest gifts ever.

    Jackson is a beautiful soul and I’m impressed by how much he cares. I have a sneaking suspicion that he gets that heart from you.


  6. says

    I love the games pages.

    Janice this post really had me in tears. I have always said my Madisyn is such an old soul. She is the same way as Jackson. Always looking out for others and caring so much. She is even the same way at school her teachers say.

    What a truely remarkable and wonderful boy you have! Give him a big (((HUG))) from us :).


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