OMG! My son is turning 40. Wait, isn't that how old I am? When did this happen? It doesn't seem so long ago that he weighed in at 9 pounds, 11 ounces and could get his legs over the side of the incubator in the newborn nursery. I knew then that he was going to be mighty, but nothing could have prepared me for all that he would be. Sure, there were signs. Like when I walked into the nursery and saw a football in his crib, a premonition I guess, that he would play and coach. That he would have the opportunity not only to teach young men to play football, but to teach them the important things in life. That someday he would have a mini Jamie, a boy called Jay, trailing after him with a football in his hands.
I should have had a clue that the kid who learned to read by poring over every column of the sports section of the newspaper would one day be the sports editor for the yearbook at a university that is synonymous with good football. I should have known when I saw him lying on the floor of our office reading depositions as a 9-year-old that there was a lawyer in the making. I should have known that the kid who wanted to spend his summers earning spending money at Bordas and Bordas was going to want to run the place someday. Even after I fired him one year for fighting with his brother during office hours, he showed up the next summer. Even after I refused to hire him one year so he could find out what it was like to work somewhere else, he kept coming back.
Why didn't I know that after seven years at Notre Dame he would come back to Wheeling and find that the girl of his dreams was someone he had known since the day she was born?
Why didn't I know that the boy who majored in business and had a knack for marketing would want to start an ad agency someday? Why didn't I know that the same boy who gave his favorite watch to Justin Kiger and his favorite ring to Jason Koegler for graduation would grow up to give so generously to so many people in need. All the signs were there of the man the boy would become. I could have figured out some of it. Most of it shouldn't have surprised me. Some of it still does. I never figured him for the guy that would be having a fifth child this year. Who does that these days? I wouldn't have pictured him doing the weekly grocery shopping. I wasn't sure he had even been in a grocery store since the times as a kid when he would run into my heels when he insisted on pushing the shopping cart. I couldn't have known that he would continue to call me every night before he went to bed. Sometimes surprises are the best gift a mother can get. Happy Birthday Jamie!