Yesterday, Jake had homework he needed help with.
How did I get my name? he asked.
Oh, well, I said, first of all, I loved the name Jake. Jacob. I loved it and your mom was not so keen on it. So, we came up with other names for Ben and Zachary that we quickly agreed on. Then, when she wanted to have one more baby and I was not so sure about one more, she said, you can name the baby.
That was enough to convince me.
Not really, but I was talking to an 8 year old about his name.
I told him about a story I wrote, in 1999, long before we were even thinking about another baby. I named the main character "Jake."
I read him the story.
Was that me? he asked.
No, actually, it was Ben. I had taken him to the zoo. But I so loved the name Jake, I had to use it.
Zachary rolled his eyes at us beaming.
Without further ado, Jake's Big Day:
Jake had a big day.
He went to the ZOO
and danced with the butterflies,
and howled with the wolves,
and hopped with the kangaroos,
and made faces with the gorillas.
He ate cotton candy, pizza, popcorn and drank pink lemonade.
He even rode a fierce crocodile.
It was BIG FUN.
When Jake got home that night,
he bounced off the walls.
His mother said, "Settle Down Jake."
But Jake couldn't Settle Down.
BIG FUN was, after all, BIG FUN.
It bubbled from his nose, zigged between his toes
and shot out of his hand,
which, in turn, made the mashed potatoes fly.
It swished the bath water out of the cup, up high in the sky, and
down onto his other mom's head.
It snuck into the pajamas and made them wild beasts, chasing him all around the room.
Finally, his moms
Lost their Patience.
and sent Jake to bed.
Jake sat on his bed.
He was very sad.
And very mad.
Jake found Teddy, his favorite bear, and sat with him.
They scowled together.
And then they scowled some more.
Then Jake remembered the face he made at the gorilla.
And he showed Teddy the gorilla face.
Jake showed Teddy how to hop like a kangaroo.
Teddy almost reached the ceiling.
Jake showed Teddy how to float like a butterfly,
his hand carefully guiding him through the air.
He even gave Teddy an ice cream cone.
Teddy smiled his soft stitched smile.
Strawberry was his favorite.
Finally, when his moms came in his room,
to kiss him goodnight
and remind him that even when they are mad
and their patience has disappeared under the couch cushion, along with 2 pennies and an old piece of popcorn,
they still love him Very Much.
And Jake decided he wasn't so sad.
Or so mad anymore.
Maybe, he was a little bit glad his moms were there.
After more kisses and hugs,
his moms left the room.
And he finished telling Teddy all about his day.
In a whisper.
in a dream.