Double whammy birthday

September 13, 2010

Sometimes life has a way of putting everything into perspective.  Generally it’s the small moments of grace and gratitude. And occasionally it’s the full-force, dope-slap-to-the-head that you just can’t miss.  The latter is
what I experienced Friday afternoon, as I was at the library writing a blog post about my Michael on the occasion of
his 12th birthday. A phone message made everything else fade to nothingness.

“Michael was just hit by a car while crossing Parker Street. He’s fine. An ambulance is on the way. Call me as soon as you can,” a neighbor’s voice crackled onto my phone, the sound of traffic and loud voices in the background.

Fine?!  As I drove the mile or so to the accident scene, right near our house, I thought of the range of possible meanings of “fine.” Until I was told otherwise, I resolved to believe it meant that his brain was still in his skull, that he had no visible massive bleeding, and maybe that he was conscious.  Anything else — broken bones, cuts — would really be fine, thank you very much.

I’m in regular daily conversation with the Good Lord,  so that’s who I turned to as my throat tightened and my breath
started to come in gulps.  The writer Anne Lamott says all prayers can be divided into two categories: please, please, please and thank you, thank you, thank you.  That’s certainly my experience. “Please be with Michael and let him know I’m on my way.  Oh, and could you help me to get a grip so I don’t get into an accident while driving, too.  Thanks, pal.”

I arrived just after the paramedics loaded him into the ambulance, and my heart soared as Michael reached his fingers, from under the back board’s security straps, and sobbed, “Mommy, it’s so scary!”  He really was fine — banged up, scraped, and terrified, but nothing else.  After a few hours with the wonderful folks at Children’s Hospital Boston (who delivered birthday balloons and a game), we headed home to enjoy a dinner of pizza and ice cream cake.

As he does each year, Michael asked Patrick, “Dad, what’s the best birthday present you ever got?”  “For my 36th birthday, I got you; that was best,” Patrick replied, as always.  This year, the gift was new all over again.

The post I’d mostly written is gone now — a victim of my speedy exit from the library and my technological inability to retrieve it.  Ah well, in thanksgiving and celebration of the wonder of Michael, photos will have to suffice.

Age 2.5 wearing sweater knit by Nannie

The kid’s got style! Sporting a sweater knit by Nannie (for an older cousin) at age 2.5.

Patrick & Michael at the beach

The birthday boys (ages almost 7 & 43) waiting for sunset at the beach.

A yarn winder is almost a toy and winding a few balls is a good cool-down after basketball practice :-)

Michael & 10-layer birthday cake

A 10-layer cake for a 10th birthday. You can’t see the rainbow-colored layers: purple, blue, red, orange, yellow, green, 2 chocolate, 2 gold.  Michael designed and helped bake and frost.

Two brothers & a cousin

Most days, Michael likes having an older brother. But he’d really like to BE an older brother and savors the times when his younger cousin Aidan (a.k.a Superman with blue kitchen gloves) gives him a chance to pretend.

His true sports loves are basketball and lacrosse, but I only have photos of baseball and football. Go figure!

Thanksgiving Day hike up Blue Hill

MPD's first dog-walking gig

Just a few weeks ago, Michael had his first dog-walking gig.  He loved it (and no, we’re still not going to get a dog.)

Happy birthday, my sweet boy.

4 Responses to “Double whammy birthday”

  1. […] On Friday, I mailed a pair of socks from my gift box to Michael, who entered his third decade yesterday. We must be having fun because time sure is flying. […]


  2. Anna Gretta Says:

    Hi Mary
    You always make my heart swell, I can feel it now in my chest, swollen with love and unreleased tears of joy. You have experienced a moment of terror all parents dread, I am so pleased with the result, an intact and wiser child surrounded by love and security.
    Thanks so much for sharing your story, and for warming my heart. Linda was right its the little things we need to grab hold of and cherish.
    Hugs Anna


  3. It’s so hard to keep those super heroes and their fashion accessories straight! Thanks, Nora xo


  4. Nora Hill Says:

    just one correction-it’s captain america in the blue gloves, not superman ;)


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