inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, parenting

A Really Good Man

“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons.  And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if just in your eyes.” –  Walter Schirra Sr


See that gorgeous baby?  Today he turns thirty-one – at around 10:47AM.  As much as he will shake his head with disbelief and some embarrassment that I am writing about him today, he can be comforted with the knowledge that he remains anonymous to most who will read this.  Truth is, it’s his birthday to celebrate; it is mine to remember.

I’ve assumed many hats in my life, and played at many roles.  We all do this – it’s part of growing up.  The one hat that I always wanted to wear was that of  ‘mom’.  I couldn’t wait.  I would admonish my six-year-old peeps if they were rough on their stuffed animals (my theory being that all these toys came to life once we slept, and their retribution would be fierce).   I was a maternal kind of friend before I could spell ‘maternal’  – or even knew what it meant.  Whatever I became professionally was serendipitous; becoming a mom was my touchstone.  If I became nothing else, so be it.

Memory blurs years together which must be why they pass so quickly.  One moment a baby is born and from that point forward time accelerates, making it impossible to isolate and hold each moment.  I can still remember holding and bathing him, the smell of his neck…I thought his baby toes were replaced with ten little pearls.   He squinted like Mr. Magoo, the lights were too bright.  So I’d squint back at him and dim the glare.  When he was nine months old he spent an entire night pulling himself into a standing position and then plopping down on his butt.  The next morning, he held on to a chair as he rose and wobbled into the dining room.  I was on the phone with my mom while I watched in disbelief – he had only crawled for four days!  Where were these days going?

We developed our own language and as awful as it sounds, I reluctantly brought him for speech therapy.  I wanted him to be able to converse with everyone; I wanted him just to talk with me.  He had one of those baby laughs that bubble up from the belly and just erupt into the room.  His grandmother’s toes were a real hit, don’t ask me why.  I couldn’t get enough of this child – I still can’t.

He is of course now a man – a really, really good man.  I respect him tremendously, though I love him more than that.  I love his heart – he will dismiss this publicly and appreciate it privately.  His sense of the greater good, his relentless work ethic.  He’s loyal and highly principled.  I love how much he loves his wife, how close he and his brothers are.  He’s very handsome.   I appreciate that he asks for my opinion though I fully expect him to do what he thinks is best.  I understand that I had to let him go into his life, and he understands that in many ways it is impossibly hard to do.  I keep trying to get that balance right.  My sons have grown into heroes in my eyes – not because of me, but in spite of me.

There are days when I just want to stop time and make cookie pizza, hold one on my lap and the other under my arm and repeat the chorus from “Horton Hatches An Egg”.   I want to watch a high school baseball game and learn secrets that most moms don’t get to hear (I am very very aware that I wasn’t told all of the secrets by any stretch).  It’s okay to want all of this, but time has its foot on the pedal and is driving this train.  So I’ll savor today and celebrate his birthday,  from his first breath to the man he has become.  May each day bring him all that he wishes for and may he wish for all that he has.  I love him all there is – Happy Birthday..


58 thoughts on “A Really Good Man”

  1. You made me leak a lot…Mims, this is beautiful, just perfect. What a truly lucky boy – man to have you as mama. I love the reference to your own little language…I truly do. Sending birthday hugs to you…and love for all the beauty of raising boys. Love you..xoxo

    1. Thank you BonBon – makes me cry more than a little too…As you know there’s a whole mess of love that comes with raising boys and letting them you babe, m

      1. My guys know I’m a crier..I think it amuses them on some level to know that they can bring me to tears at the drop of a hat. Trying to articulate my love for them makes me weep, cause there is just no way to do it well, ya know? xox

  2. You speak to the hearts of all of us who know unconditional love in its purest form. Mother and child. I’m still sniffling. An incredibly beautiful tribute and acknowledgement of how deep your love for the boy with the pearly toes, and the man he has become, is. . Happy Birthday to -insert name here- and much love to you. And while he may roll his eyes a little and blush, I bet his heart is warmed by this loving birthday card to him. You did good, mama. You did good! L’dor v’dor.

    1. I still think they grew up in spite of me, not because of me. And though his toes are no longer pearly (his wife would attest to this), he could not be more loved. xox

      1. The beauty is that he knows this. And, it’s the “knowing” in the present, that the love has always been his and always will be, that is the greatest gift.

  3. Ahhhh, I’ve missed my “Mimi missives” this past week!!

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful boy, Mimi, and kudos to you for raising such a lovely man–it surprises me not at all. This unbridled display of affection for your son gives me a lump in my throat and I feel certain that, embarrassed though he may be, he is also grateful for your love and acknowledgement. This I know with *all* of my heart. Thank you for sharing your beautiful boy with us–may his day, and yours, be full of sun-kissed memories… xoxo

    1. He did send me an email – and he enjoyed reading the post and was touched by it (which thrilled me)..I’m glad the love came through above all, for that is truly all there is..xoxo

  4. Beautiful, beautiful words. It’s so amazing to be able to see this from your perspective – so different from my own where I sit not so far from my kids’ baby years but so far from their adulthood. Reading your words reinforces how quickly that gap will shrink, how my perspective will soon be yours and I will wish for the exact time where I now am. And so today I will take a minute to appreciate it – for all too soon it will be gone.

    I truly believe that thoughtful and loving words are the best gifts we can give to the people in our lives. This post is an amazing gift to your son (and to all of us)!

    1. Thank you so much…I can herald back to those years gone by in a heartbeat.. just can’t touch them. I have no real plans for this blog other than to print out three copies – one for each son. They know me well, and they will have something to hold in the years to come..

  5. I have four of those heroes, those really good men, and one who will become one all too soon. I get weepy just thinking about how much they all bless my life. Happy Birthday to your hero! Xoxo

  6. I know this yoing man, and I can’t dispute a word my wife has penned…….but…… yes there’s always a but. This young accomplished and loving young man would never have matured in the person he is, without all the ingredients hishis mother carefully measured and poured into the recipe. This woman has loved and nurtured all of her sons to such a degree that their metamorphasis into wonderful men was assured from day 1. Happy Bday Matt, and congratulations Mimi on producing a wonderful person.

    1. Oh honey thank you thank you…and you know I’m a weepy mess right now (note to self – buy more Kleenex). You have been in their lives for the bulk of their lives, and I don’t diminish your efforts and love for them for one moment. We have much to be proud of over the years – but these guys? Every ounce of love has come back many, many, many times over. I love you, m

  7. I shed tears of knowing with you my lovely friend. I am so happy for your love and for Matt’s. Being a Mother was never something I ever thought I’d want, nor be good at. But I have found it’s the best I’ve ever done, producing sons that became wonderful men. Congratulations, to both of you.

    1. The congratulations are his sweetie – the bittersweet joy is mine. And yes, there is nothing that I take greater pride in, nothing that I wanted to succeed at more than being the best mom to these boys. They gave me – and continue to give me – the greatest joy I could ever have known. It’s a ride that is impossible to describe, isn’t it? xox

    2. That was a beautiful tribute to your son and he looked like one gorgeous, delicious baby. When I gave birth to my daughter, 24 years ago, I knew what unconditional, eternal love meant. What a blessing motherhood is.
      Happy birthday to your wonderful hero!

      1. Oh Fran he was ‘babelicious’ (a term coined by an old friend) ..I was a good baby baker!! I really do believe that unconditional love in its purest form is seen between parent and child. Even the years when they don’t get it (and mine definitely had years when they didn’t get it, but it was their time to doubt those things) – it remains staunch and unyielding. Without question, it is a miracle and a blessing.

  8. Yes one day they are babies and the next they are parents themselves well that is how it felt to me all my babies are now mums themselves and like you I am proud of the adult they have grown into………………hope he has a wonderful birthday

  9. Oh Mimi, how you articulate everything I know I will someday feel in a way that thrills and terrifies me.The respect and the love and the speed- the speed with which they grow! My heart sighs… Happy birthday to your boy.

  10. Read this post, with tears in my eyes. Your love can be sensed in every word. Nothing like love between mother and child. One of the most beautiful blog posts I’ve ever read Mimi. Thanks for that. hugs, Kristi 🙂

  11. Yes….”There are days when I just want to stop time and make cookie pizza, hold one on my lap and the other under my arm and repeat the chorus from “Horton Hatches An Egg”.”

  12. Such a beautiful tribute to a son..stating perfectly those things we moms ponder in the hidden places of our hearts! It struck a cord with me since we celebrated my son’s 36th just two days ago.

    Your words speak my heart’s thoughts. Thank you

    1. I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating David’s birthday! And isn’t that what friends do for each other? echo the words of the heart and hope they resonate..xox

  13. Great post, Mimi. My son turns 21 soon – and I think these things frequently.
    I also happen to like Rod Stewart – but don’t tell DK. It’ll throw him for a loop. I have a reputation to uphold 🙂

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