I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Jackson doesn't have a filter. Nary a wisp of a sieve exists between the thought in his brain and the look on his face. Since the moment his prefrontal cortex had its first thought, the real-time pop-up video took the guess work out of whether he was happy, upset, scared, worried, etc. Unlike his siblings who would contemplate their situation (i.e. an atrociously dirty diaper) prior to voicing concern, Jack would only need to get the idea that a poop might be imminent and the kid was whaling to rival a 4 alarm fire. And heaven forbid you woke him from sleep. That split second of total disillusion that most of us sit calmly through plays out in 3D right in front of us. Fortunately, every yin has a yang.
He has been in daycare since he was 8 weeks old. So for almost 5 years now, I have had the utter joy of picking him up after work more days than not. At first, I would sneak quietly into the infant room so I could see his face before he heard my voice. One little word from me and he would flail around in an almost-painfully happy snow-angel dance until I would pick him up. Once he was mobile, I would stand in the doorway and call his name, marveling at the lightning speed he would gimp-crawl to me. As a toddler, he would very literally push other children out of his way, lean his head into the wind, arms back like a tail, and run at breakneck speed all the while screaming "Mommy!!!" as if he hadn't seen me in years.
And, today, my sweet Jackson didn't let me down. I've been away at a conference for 4 days. The kids have been with some combination of Matilda, Gigi, Nana, and Bud having the time of their lives. I happened to get back to the house before they arrived and watched through the window as Jack scurried out of the car like a spry geriatric man and shuffle to the front door with a look of absolute and total elation. I opened the door and he literally jumped straight up into my arms, squeezed the stuffing out of me, and said "Mommy, I missed you so much! I have to tell you all about my breakfast with Santa!!" If it wasn't just so adorably genuine, it could come across as a very cheesy 1980s movie scene.
One day, the way he wears his heart on his sleeve will very likely break mine. But for now, having someone be so joyously excited to see me *every* *single* *day* is the best therapy money can't buy.