Merry Christmas! Sure its been a while since our last post...and sure I promised to post more often....we'll chat about that later.
I wanted to post today to tell you about a very special Christmas visitor that appeared on our front porch yesterday.
Our Christmas was amazing. Justin and I soaked up every minute of this last Christmas where Jackson was our only child to focus on. Jackson soaked up every fun activity the season offered. From Christmas crafts to reindeer food - we did it all! None the less...admist all the fun Jackson never let his love for sports or Gary Harris fade. We've watched a lot of Michigan State Basketball (even my IU loving husband joins in on the fun) to cheer on Gary Harris. (read more about Jackson's love for Gary Harris here).
Late Christmas Eve night, Justin and I returned home from a family celebration with the Bixler's. I found a fax on our fax machine asking me to call "Joy" to arrange a special delivery for Jackson. (We do not have a land line and our fax number is the only number published). It was too late to call and Justin and I were puzzeled. We agreed to call a couple days after the holiday wanting to allow "Joy" time with her family on the holiday. I did google the phone number and it led me to a woman named Joy Harris. It didn't sound familiar and I noted to call her on Wednesday or Thursday.
Christmas morning was a hit as Santa was very good to Jackson!! Our morning moved on as we hosted 26 people for lunch. After our family left, Justin and I were packing up our car to move on to our next Christmas celebration with my family. Then, our door bell rang...
I could see a woman I didn't recognize through the window. As I opened the door, I recognized the person she was with very well. It was Gary Harris! All of the sudden everything clicked. I looked at the woman and said, "You're Joy!" She said, "Yes, and this is Gary!"...as she pointed to my 4-year old's hero. I knew who he was. After all, we spend a lot of time at our house talking about Gary Harris. "How did he get to be that good, Mom?","Why doesn't he want to play for the Royals anymore, Mom?", "Does Gary Harris eat his vegetables, Mom?" So, yes when Gary Harris was standing on my door step...I knew who he was. I also knew what it would mean to a certain 4-year old little boy.
I immediately asked them inside and told Jackson someone was here to see him. Justin and Jackson came to the door. Jackson walked right up to Gary. I asked Jackson if he knew who this was...he said in his very shy 4-year old voice, "Gary Harris." Though - I know inside Jackson was shouting to the roof tops. But as a four year old - when someone who is larger than life (figuratively and literally) is standing in your home you turn to your shy-self. The one that doesn't want to admit that you are about to jump out of your skin.
On the other hand, I was in awe. Here stands a 19 year old kid who is home for a short time for Christmas break - and yet he and his mother took time away from their family to say hello to our son. I was speechless. But not tearless. Yep, I cried. And I won't blame it on the pregnancy hormones...I cried when Jackson met Mickey Mouse...and yet this was even better.
Jackson took Gary's hand and showed him his new playroom where they replaced a regular basketball hanging on the wall with his new Michigan State basketball. I think it looks perfect. Jackson also showed Gary his HSE Royals sign that my sister had made for him (it is similar to the ones you see around town signifying that an HSE athelete lives there).
We explained as IU fans we had never watched Michigan State much before this year but had certainly become fond of watching him play when we can...and because of his kind heart to take the time to show our little boy such love on such a sacred holiday - we were certainly Michigan State fans now.
Jackson remained shy most of the time...I believe he even chewed on his sleeve at one point out of nerves and pure excitement. I asked Jackson if he wanted to show Gary his HSE cheer he knows by heart after cheering for him and the Royals so much. Jackson politely shook his head no. We thanked Gary and his mother over and over, said our good-byes. After they left, Jackson hugged me and said, "Mom, I wish I would have shown Gary the HSE cheer - can you text it to him?" Love his innocence!
Justin and I couldn't believe who had just been in our home. All because he heard about how our little boy had followed him and truly looked up at him. Justin commented what a kind heart this "kid" has and that you don't see that very often. He is right. There just aren't words to express our graditude or how highly we regard Gary and his family because of this short visit.
We tried to explain to Jackson that this was a very special day. We told Jackson that Gary didn't stop at all the little boys houses that day. I do believe Jackson understood that. When we walked into my sister's house for our last family celebration the first thing Jackson announced was, "Gary Harris came to my house!" My nieces and nephews were busy talking about what Santa brought them. Jackson never mentioned his Wii, iPad, or Air Jordan gear that was under the tree that morning...all he could talk about was that Gary Harris came to his house to see him and brought him a REAL basketball.
It was all Justin and I could think about too. In a day where some college athletes get a reputation for losing sight about what is important - Gary Harris reminded us that isn't always true. Gary was returning to Michigan today...and wanted to be sure to meet Jackson before he left. To me, that proves that Gary Harris is not only an amazing athlete - but he is a kind hearted individual who cares about others...even those he doesn't know.
A big THANK YOU to Gary Harris for making this Christmas one to remember for Jackson...and for us too. There is something that happens to a parent when your child meets his hero. I can't explain it - but it sure feels amazing!
What a Christmas! We wish everyone an amazing holiday!