Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jonathan, part 2, Grades K-8

How does one describe how quickly the years went by--how dear the years were--how blessed we were? They were fun busy years, yet hard years, but we always saw the faithfulness of our God to us. (See Jonathan, part 1)

When Jonathan began first grade, one of the young men from church approached me one morning and these were almost his exact words. “Would you be offended if I came along side of your little boy and did some activities with him, since he doesn’t have a dad?” I immediately was overwhelmed with gratefulness because this was just what Jon needed...and so began a friendship between Jonathan and David.

first grade
No matter how he started out the day, he finished up looking like an "unmade bed."

David S. was about 25, a student at Multnomah Bible School, and a Godly man. Soon he and another young man, also a student, came one night a week for dinner and they had such sweet fellowship with all of my children. Dave became Jon’s soccer coach, took him hiking, biking, and was his encourager. I can never thank David enough for befriending my little boy all through his grade school years. He was a gift from God!!

Jonathan learned to read in first grade. I was excited that the process came together okay having taught some kids that just didn’t get reading. We had our share of baseball games and an avid interest in ice hockey which he wasn’t allowed to do because of his arthritis. He had a hard time understanding it wasn’t going to happen.

second grade

third grade
By fourth grade, they had band and orchestra tryouts. I never said a word, but I was thinking that the trumpet is a majestic instrument!! He came home and announced he was going to play the violin!! .......and play it he did!!!!

We started with “twinkle-twinkle” and progressed from there. Since he was playing the Suzuki method, he listened to his music 30 minutes a day before practicing. Unless you have lived with a beginning student violinist, you have absolutely no idea what kind of sounds can come out of the violin! Eventually he learned how to do vibrato....and suddenly the music began to sing!!

By the end of fourth grade, his orchestra teacher from school called me and said that the child had music in his soul!! He wanted me to get him private instruction and gave me the name of
the top notch teacher in our area....and violin lessons began.

By sixth grade, he was the outstanding (grades 1-8) violinist in our school district. He played a very complicated Tchalkovsky composition before a packed audience at our district high school music festival. He received a standing ovation. When everyone sat down, Grandpa stood up and announced , “That’s my grandson!!” Oh my! the memories.

After fourth grade our spare time lives were filled with music lessons, playing in an orchestra from another school district one night a week, soccer, and trying to get them all to the table for family dinner each evening. Those years were a real juggling act!

sixth grade

The summer before junior high school, Jonathan provided the special music at his dear friend, David’s, wedding. David and his bride went to Eugene to study architecture and Jonathan grieved. Although we saw them from time to time, as Jon said, “It will never be the same.”

Junior High began and it was a nightmare! The discipline was terrible and the student body ran wild. I knew in my heart he was in his last year of public school.

By seventh grade he was playing with the Portland Junior Symphony, still playing with the other school district orchestra, taking lessons, by then, from the second chair violinist with the Portland Symphony, and spending much longer time practicing.

The summer Jonathan was thirteen he lost his adored grandpa to sudden death. We all reeled from the shock. For Jon, it meant the loss of his friend, his protector, his buddy, his encourager, and his cheer leader at all of his games, as well as his musical performances. In high school he was to write the following:

The Saddest Day of My Life
On August 15, 1979, my wonderful grandpa died. Suddenly and without warning he was dead!

I was at summer camp enjoy myself to the hilt. I was having so much fun. We were riding the mini-bikes on that afternoon when one of the counselors came to me and told me that my mom was here to see me. (That was against the rules to have parents visit.)

I knew something was wrong. She looked so serious. My aunt was also with her. Each of the moms took a boy and proceeded to tell us that Grandpa was gone. The tears that flooded my face, my heart, and my soul were sad, angry and bitter. How could God take my grandfather--my friend, my father figure, my dear, dear, confidant?

In the place of all the turmoil within, gradually a deep sadness crept in to take the place of the angry and bitter feelings. The sadness didn’t leave for a long time...and
sometimes it is still there.

Two weeks after Grandpa’s death, Jonathan began eighth grade at an ACE school. It was during this year of school, that he suffered the most severe episode of his rheumatoid arthritis, thus far. He was put on six weeks of bed rest with narcotics for pain, and then for another six weeks he could attend school half-days. I couldn’t afford financially to take time off to care for him. One of my mother-helpers at school, whom I knew well, came and offered to take care of him. She was one of those answers to prayer that fit into the category “before you call, I will answer!” You see I hadn’t prayed earnestly yet about a solution, because I had to stew and worry a little longer!! But the Lord took it right out of my hands and provided an answer in the form of this dear friend who was a Christian and also an RN! Wasn't that wonderful??

I must say something of the boy, Jonathan. He was, (and is), an easy going, laid back kind of a kid, who took his music much more seriously than his school work! In many ways, he was a "magical" child. Jon didn’t know a stranger, always friendly and outgoing, he enjoyed his share of friends. He has always been a hugger and a very affectionate child. He had stage presence from the early days of performing. As he matured, his music began to include song-writing, playing piano, keyboard, and base guitar, as well as developing a beautiful singing voice. His music has always brought much pleasure and joy to his Mom’s heart.

eighth grade

When he announced to us in his cute lisp, when he was two, as he whirled around the living room to some music, “I danthing bear", little did we know......

My heart fills with thanksgiving that I was blessed by God with an occupation which provided financially for us. The money always seemed to be there for increased lessons, new violins as he grew, and all of the other expenses. As I look back I see how God provided with something extra at just the right time. (We lived on a teacher's salary.)

Our God has been faithful. I want to give Him all the glory for whatever is good that came out of our little family structure. Certainly Jonathan's wonderful gift of music is a direct gift from God!!

Until next time.......


Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

When I read that a young college student came up to you and asked if he could be there for your son I thought how wonderful that is! We are not seeing that kind of sensitivity to spiritual things and others in the generation that is in college now. It's really sad. How wonderful for you son that he had that...and that he had you!!!!

Margie said...

You write so beautifully! I can't wait for more. What a wonderful son you were blessed form God with and what a wonderful Mother he was blessed to have!

Kim said...

I was so happy to see the second part of this story! Thanks for sharing.

Also, like the commenter above said, how wonderful that someone came alongside your son. What a true blessing!

Oh, and thanks so much for your sweet comments on my blog!

Anonymous said...

Dear Joan, thank you so much for writing about this. I laughed and cried the whole way through. It's so awesome to hear about God's miraculous provision. What a talented guy. That must have been so exciting!
This is a blessing!

Charlotte said...

I can see, after reading your blog, why you are so proud of Jonathan. Thank you for visiting my blog and for the lovely comment you made. I am loving my new iMac, but I am totally frustrated trying to set up the e-mail. I have been working on it for hours. I had used a PC for many years but this is my first experience with a Mac. Everyone seems to think the Mac is better.
Come back and visit anytime.

Charlotte said...

I'll have to come back to read the first part. I just wanted to respond to your comment. Yes, I bought the extended warranty. Tomorrow I'll tackle the e-mail problem again. Tonight I'm too tired to think about it any more.

tiggertastic said...

What a lovley blog page. Thank you for a good read. sarahx

Ruthie said...

What a wonderful story about your
son. Thanks for sharing it.
I enjoy all your blog entries.
Hope your back is doing better.
Stop by my blog - there is something there for you. :)
Blessings my dear cyber friend.

Alexandra said...

thanks for writing about such a terrific story! *STAMPIN HUGS* Alex

Kristy said...

This was wonderful to read!
Thank you for sharing with us.
Blessings ~

Anonymous said...

Well, let's see if I can write around the lump in my throat. Two things--Jon's letter about Grandpa's sensitive, raw and real.....and that wonderful picture of him in the white suit, tall, fresh, with that Jonathan twinkle in his eye, holding the violin.

Wonderful Memoir, and keepsakes for you as well as Jon and his family.


Wendi said...

I have missed visiting your blog Joan and I am glad I am back in the land of blogging again, I too had a tear and a lump after reading Jon's letter about his Grandpa I love reading about you and your family you should of been a writer Joan you do it so well
Thank you for sharing I have also read 1 & 2 before I started, I shall be back each week again
Take care
Wendi xx