If you wish to contribute to Jack's fund, please send donations to:
Jack Jablonski Fund
3001 Louisiana Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55427
Or any Wells Fargo Bank, & mention "Jack Jablonski Fund"
*If you wish to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Jack Jablonski BEL13VE in Miracles Foundation where the proceeds benefit SCI research and recovery efforts, please visit www.bel13vefoundation.org and select the red "DONATE" box on the bottom right corner of the home page.
It was customary for each graduating class in my high school to incorporate music into our commencement ceremonies. My class actually had a group of guys who formed a band and played an incredible rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird."
Here I am in LA, as we transition Jack into USC. "Free Bird" has popped in and out of my head since we arrived on January 6th. Not so much for the lyrics, but more for the name of the song, and the continuous repetition of the words, "Free Bird." Maybe the song stuck to my mind because it reminds me of my own transition from high school to college. Or maybe it's just a reminder that it's time to let go.
Sigh. Double sigh.
Free Bird. Bird. Empty nest. Letting go. Well, not really an empty nest, but the house sure will feel empty without Jack. But I am so grateful to have this time with Max. He's been such an incredibly unselfish, super-supporting and understanding younger brother. His love for Jack brings tears to my eyes. I'll never forget the night just a few days after Jack's injury when Max and I went home to shower and grab a few things to bring back to the hospital. We walked into the kitchen and he looked at Jack's chair sitting at the counter. He burst into tears and said, "I want my brother back." Heart-wrenching. A moment I'll never forget.
Fast-forward to January 2015. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine Jack would be in college after his injury, but here we are. On the morning we left with Jack, I heard Max in his brother's room. He wished him well and they said their goodbyes. How time flies. How they've grown. Both of them. And how far we've come from that day in the kitchen.
So, here we are, in LA, at USC. Jack is getting acclimated to his new environment. Classes started this week, and thanks to a conglomerate of amazing people, things are falling into place. We got Jack settled in his ADA apartment, which is perfect as it faces a brand new courtyard with a giant fireplace outside his bedroom window and many sunny spots where he spends time studying and reading. Yes, Jack really is studying and reading. And tanning.
As for me, I'm proud to say that I'm finally figuring out LA and the lay of the land. I have to admit, I was really intimidated by this city. Not sure why, but I was. After a week of navigating my way around LA, I've overcome my fear of the freeway system and its never-ending traffic. And I did, by accident, land in the restricted Express Lane for which I'm sure I will receive a hefty ticket in the mail. Oh well, at least I got to my destination in half the time it would have taken had I not made this mistake.
I have a few more days in LA before I head back to Minneapolis. My emotions have been all over the map. I know that's normal for most parents dropping their sons/daughters off at college for the first time. Each day seems to put me more and more at ease as I watch Jack feel more and more comfortable with all things new. It's a huge hurdle for every college-bound freshman to clear, but it can be so overwhelming for a kid with special needs. All I can say is that I am so proud of Jack for his courage, his determination and his ability to embrace so much change all at once.
Think about it. Every. Single. Thing. In. His. Life. Has. Changed. Every. Thing. Scary. But Oh-So-Exciting.
And, he's ready. I may not be, but Jack is.
Time to let go.
"If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on now, 'cause there's too many places I've got to see…" Lynyrd Skynyrd, Free Bird