How I won the Super Bowl* (or a Happy Birthday to the Boy)

January 20, 1989, roughly 10:30 am.  Picture me sitting in a room, utterly slobberknocked.  My husband has just kissed me on the forehead and gone off to “get some sleep” he said.  Get some sleep?  What about me?  I’ve been awake for twenty-six hours and this is all I get?

Actually, what I got was a 5 pound, 14 ounce package of energy and sweetness that would change my life forever.

The Boy arrived at 10:14 am.  I remember seeing his little face for the first time–his eyes wide open, looking right at me.  I was shocked by the intensity.  A few minutes later a nurse whisked him away, my husband left, and I was alone in an empty room with all this discarded equipment, feeling like I’d just played ten hours of pro football.

Best day of my life.

Fast forward twenty-five years.  Zip past the infancy, the toddler-hood, the childhood that flowed into early adolescence without a hiccup.  The teen years, years of homeschooling, learning to drive, part-time jobs.  Then college, then a first real job.  You could pack it all into a two-hour movie.  Piece of cake.

Last week my husband and I attended an open house at the place where the Boy works.  Throughout the evening, several of his co-workers, including his bosses, took the time to tell us how much they thought of him, how creative he was, what a nice guy he was.  All very gratifying, as well as reassuring in today’s job market. Exactly what every parent hopes to hear.  At one point, the founder of the company jokingly asked me what I had fed him for breakfast, as though how the Boy turned out had anything to do with me.

And that’s the point.  Beyond the love we offered unconditionally, beyond the boundaries we set (and constantly negotiated), who the Boy is now has more to do with who he was when he arrived:  eyes wide open, curious, imaginative, tenacious, persistent, and with a sense of humor.  He loved music and words and laughing, right from the start.

And we are the better for him, his father and I.  He has taught us far more than we ever thought possible to learn.

The Boy leaving for Africa, wearing all his cool clothes

His bags are packed, he’s leaving for Africa, wearing all his cool clothes.

The music that inspired a wish to go to Africa in the photo above.

*NOTE:  I didn’t really.  It’s a metaphor.  The Super Bowl took place two days later.  The 49ers won.  But there was much rejoicing in our house, all the same.

21 thoughts on “How I won the Super Bowl* (or a Happy Birthday to the Boy)

  1. Happy birthday! It is strange how quickly time passes, my boy turns 16 next week, if he makes it :) if he keeps messing with his little sister, she might let him have it.

    It is great to hear wonderful news about your child, it is us whom they test and push, and try boundaries, and it is our steadfastness with tough love at times and tender mercies the rest of the time that temper them into the people they become. I hope he had a wonderful birthday and I’m sure you remember that day well.


  2. What a beautiful snap shot of love, pride and joy…for your beautiful ‘boy’. I love the words you’ve used to describe the qualities he arrived with, as well as the things he loved music, words, laughter – what a recipe for a life:-) That song is one I can’t even listen to all the way through right now, it touches me so powerfully. Africa will always be a huge part of who I am, and was the beginning of my life as a strong, independent, creative and compassionate young woman. Huge congratulations on the birthday of your son. Love and blessings, Harula xxxxx


  3. But Mary, you and your husband did have a tremendous impact on how the Boy turned out. That unconditional love, those boundaries — that’s what allowed that little bundle of potentialities to develop into the man he’s become. Congratulations to all of you, and a very happy birthday to your Boy.


    • Thanks, Lee. I love that idea – “little bundle of potentialities.” Isn’t that the truth?! It looks like you were quiet a success yourself with your bundles. Looks like they didn’t turn out too badly, either – especially that girl.


    • Aww, thanks, Jen. I read your care and feeding instructions for your Conure and it sounded every bit as demanding raising a child. Except that eventually the child will leave home, but the bird won’t. ;-)


  4. Happy Birthday to your son! It is so lovely on many levels to have peers and bosses alike share positive thoughts about your son. Good for him ,,, and good for you and your husband! (love that picture of him all dressed up to travel)


    • That kid always loved music. Now he’s making his own! The thing I love most about that particular photo is looking at all the pieces of what he thought were his “cool” clothes. And how happy he was about it all!


  5. Nice! And you’re right sometimes I find myself learning little life lessons from my kid while I’m trying to teach him, for instance how he totally lives in the moment and lets his inner pirate, superhero, awesomeness out. Just lets it out. It reminds me to do the same when I forget :)


  6. You knotted this story of life and parental love so superbly. I guess no one, except mothers, can actually explain the joy of motherhood and watching a baby grow up to adulthood.

    Happy birthday to your son.


  7. I can so relate. I feel the very same way about my kids. I gotta tell you, Wild Words, when I saw that this post was about family, I just knew you were going to make me grab for the Kleenex. You always do.


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