November 03, 2017
In early November 1996, being about 39 weeks pregnant, I worked my last day at the Sporting News and began what I had hoped would be a week or two of rest before our second child came along.
We didn't know if the future was pink or blue. The way Tom figured it, life held few surprises in which the outcome was guaranteed good no matter what, and that was OK with me. We were about to grow our little family, and 2 1/2-year-old Matt had no idea how much his life was going to change regardless of if he was getting a little brother or sister.
I didn't get much time off. The day after I left work, the doctor decided it was probably a good thing to induce labor. We made arrangements for Matt and took a midnight drive to St. John's Mercy Hospital for a scheduled pitocin drip, drip, drip, that would start a 15 hour journey — and then some.
By the time they scheduled an emergency C-section in the early evening of Nov. 7, I was a bit happy to get it all over with, and even happier when the doctor in the operating room said, "He's beautiful."
"He" was indeed. The doctor could have added, "Oh, and one day he'll be a college football defensive lineman, but that's not why he took his time getting here."
That was 21 years ago next week. Matt was happy to have a baby brother, and I remember feeling like the luckiest woman in the world to be the mom to these boys. Still do, even if I'm destined to be the short one among a family of giants, all three of them now 6-foot-2 or taller.
I remember Nov. 7, 1996, like it was yesterday, as I remember every moment since. That's right, every moment. Not as one continuous loop, but in memories that permeate consciousness like air, ready to be breathed in at the sight of a photograph, the smell of a former classroom, the sound of a song that made him joyful, or the touch of an old stuffed animal that never found its way to the Goodwill store.
And sometimes you take deep gulps of those memories and can recall with complete sharpness the first time the ocean tickled his toes, his first day of kindergarten, his first goal in soccer. The books you read. The movies you saw. The camping trips and vacations, the sleepovers and pizza nights. That first day of high school, the football games on Friday night, and that day he left for college.
So next Tuesday he turns 21, which means we'll have two adult children. Does that mean the moments for a mother stop?
Not a chance. In many ways, they're just getting started.