Four years ago, Jackson Cash Bybee entered the world, full of spit and vigor and a head full of dark hair. Although the dark hair didn’t last, the spit and vigor took. It’s amazing what all you tend to forget, even in a short amount of time, but we had quite an ordeal when Sunny was pregnant with Jackson. In spite of multiple health scares during those nine months (for both Mom and baby), we believed this child was an indication of God’s graciousness. For that reason, we chose the name Jackson, meaning “God has been gracious.” Our little Jack has been the grace note for our family, a joyous and rambunctious declaration of completion. Without Jackson, we would not be complete. To that end, we also chose the name “Cash” for our son. Obviously, as most of you know, I have this inherited affinity for Johnny Cash. (Just this week, Joshua told me Johnny Cash had become his favorite musical artist. Cue the Circle of Life music.) I’d floated the possibility of “Cash” as a non-traditional first name in the early stages of the baby-name-choosing sweepstakes, but it just didn’t take. But we did some research and discovered that the name “Cash” means “peace” or “peacemaker” in some cultures. Sunny was the one to come up with the “Jackson Cash” combo. An homage to the iconic Bybee family bard rife with theological import? I was down with that. Still am. To this day, I think our son has one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard. Jackson Cash Bybee. Just has a ring to it.
Over the years, Jackson has emerged as a pioneer personality in our household. Despite having an older brother and sister to emulate, Jackson goes his own way. Even in his worst moments of pitching fits and disobedience, Jackson shows a determined individualism that makes me proud. He’s also been our fearless child – climbing on top of the refrigerator, jumping off sofas and counter tops, feeding and petting our neighbors horses when the “big” kids run and hide. Yet, for all his hard play, the kid still has a soft side, especially around Mommy. The bond Sunny and Jackson share is unique; I think Jack will grow up to be the kind of young man who’ll do anything to please his Mom. And that’s just fine with Dad.
Psalm 127.3 says, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord.” I believe this to be true. Jackson, you are my heritage from the Lord. I am so incredibly proud of you. I am so thankful God gave you to me so I could be your Daddy. You carry the fire, young man, and that lets me know you’ll be just fine. From the day we found out you were coming, our only prayer was that God would make you into a strong man who loves Him. My prayer for you today is the same prayer it’s always been: “So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires.” (1 Kgs. 2.2-3).
I love you, little Jack. Happy Birthday.