26 years ago this morning I gave birth to my son, Michael. He was unexpected and proof that the rhythm method of birth control is very effective if you want to become a parent, it sure as hell doesn’t work for avoiding pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, I did want children just thought it would be a little longer before I started down that road. He was two weeks late being born and took 14 hours of labor to finally decide he was ready to make an entrance. Not much has changed, he usually isn’t running just exactly on time, except perhaps for work.
Mother’s Day that year, while I was out to there pregnant, his biological father lost a friend in a motorcycle accident. At that point I did not know if I was having a boy or a girl, but promised that if the baby was a boy he would be named after Joe’s friend, Michael Patrick Clancy. I was warned not to name any child Michael, I have a brother Mike and know plenty of them to know that they are a different breed. Obviously I failed to heed the warning.
Mikey and I ended up on our own by the time he was 10 months old, marriage to his dad was less than a stellar experience. I never spoke unkindly about the other half of his biological gene pool when he was growing up and I won’t do it now, so we’ll just leave it like that.
I went through some serious depression as a single mom starting out. This kid was a night owl from day one, sleeping wonderfully during the day and being up all night. This made for one very sleep deprived mommy and that, added to my depression of being divorced at 22 years old, often meant I felt like I was coming apart at the seams. It was his adorable little smile and personality that rooted me mentally to this world and not some dark place. On weekend mornings when he wasn’t with his dad, I’d wake up to him nose-to-nose with me, grinning from ear to ear. Sometimes I could get him to go to sleep, but most mornings he would pester me until I got up and fed him. One morning he didn’t wake me up, or at least I didn’t respond. I found the refrigerator door standing open, the flatware draw open and him sitting on top of the coffee table watching TV, eating cottage cheese by the fist full. He hadn’t been able to reach a spoon so he improvised. It was all over the top of the coffee table. He looked up and grinned and said “see mom, I eat!” oh so proud of himself.
Another time I vividly recall, he was going to help me do the laundry. We lived in an apartment with the laundry room right next to us, SO convenient. I had placed the basket on the floor by the coffee table and walked in my room to get the quarters. There was a fan in front of the sliding door screen blowing into the living room. I couldn’t have been in there 2 minutes but when I returned the living room looked like a scene from the movie, Dr. Zhivago. He had been pouring the box of detergent on the coffee table and the breeze from the fan of course blew it around. He did all he could to help it, tossing it in the air and adding more as he went. When I walked in I yelled at him, and he started to cry. I was crying, knowing this would take hours to vacuum up. He rubbed his eyes with his soap covered hands, burning his eyes and making him scream. While I was in the bathroom washing his eyes clean the detergent was continuing to snow all over my living room.
He was a ladies man from day one, a total and complete flirt and always a gentleman. After I met Pete and married, we moved to an apartment complex that had a pool. Mikey had this adorable, 5 year old boy crush on this cute little girl that would come to the pool. He’d spread out her towel for her and share his snacks, he was smitten.
During his kindergarten and first grade years he had the best of both worlds. His dad had married Brenda, and though at first it was rough, she and I worked out a decent relationship. She picked Mike up from school during the week and I picked him up from her. He had both a stay at home mom and a full time working mom and thrived under that arrangement. His dad had a daughter from his first marriage, Maggie, and Mike was tight with her when she was in town (she lived in Kansas) and thankfully they have reconnected over the years and he is now an uncle to identical twin boys.
Michael was a typical older brother when I had his sister, Liesl. He loved helping with her, and taught her everything he knew (not so good). Later, he would terrorize her and pick on her like brothers do. Now, he is super protective of her and would often question her attire as she went out. Heaven help anyone that ever hurts that girl, he will destroy them.
From the time he could walk that boy wanted to be a cop more than anything. He had a supply of plastic handcuffs and guns, and when he played with friends he had to be the good guy and hunt them down. He has probably seen every single decent police centered movie available. His favorite cop in the world is Barney Fife. He has seen every single episode of Andy Griffith ever made, no doubt about it. He can quote lines from the show and probably could win any trivia contest about the Don Knotts character of Barney. I have my son in my phone as Barney Fife.
At 12 years old he learned the play the Highland Bagpipes and joined the Sheriff’s Department pipe band. He now plays for the Cincinnati Emerald Society when he has time. At 18 years old he joined the Sheriff’s department as a corrections officer and now is a patrol officer. While I am fiercely proud of him when I see him in uniform, it also makes me nervous for his safety. I pray…a LOT. But what mom wouldn’t be delighted that their offspring followed a dream and grabbed the gold ring?
Life has dealt my son some pretty shitty cards at times, but he always manages to eventually land on his feet. He makes me so proud, and I cannot be more happy with the man he has become. I love you, “Barney”, happy birthday!!
So precious! You have been blessed with a wonderful son….and he has clearly been blessed with a wonderful mother.
I had the pleasure of being Mike’s primary FTO. He is a great person and one of the best cops I have had the pleasure of training. Even with our age difference we always had something to talk about and still keep in touch even though we work different parts of town. Good job mom. You raised a fine son.
Thanks for sharing that, Steve! I always hoped he would make a good cop. I’m so proud of him.
Very interesting article, thanks. Keep up the good work.
OK – make me cry first thing this morning!! The picture of little Mikey did it – hadn’t even read a word yet! He was, indeed, the most wonderful chilld – kind, loving, funny, sweet, sweet-tempered, considerate – just a joy to be with. And I thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for sharing him with me. YOU brought me Mother’s Day flowers, YOU allowed me to mother him (remember when he had to get that swat on the butt from me almost in front of you? I took him into the house and YOU backed me up about it. — That was only 1 of 2 times butt swatting was called for – he was such a good boy!! The other time was a fire extinguisher experience.) Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So many wonderful, sweet memories. Going to the Butler County Fair (it’s going on now – Hey Beanie – wanna go?!) Yes, his nickname was/is Beanie. It’s from a book we read to him where the old couple in the story could not have children, so they carved a boy out of a bean. Bean boy, Beanie – get it? Then there was the time I sang the Star Spangled Banner at his martial arts thingy and he requested that song for hours/days on end. He was sooo good to my parents, Marion and Bessie, who did not have grandchildren of their own. They were in his life from about 2 years of age and they immediately became Grandma and Grandpa, and the love between them was so apparent. He brought such joy to them. Margie, too. \
I could go on and on, but I must stop crying now. Happy, Happy Birthday, Beanie!!!
I am so glad he had you as a huge part of his life, and that you were able to track us down all these years later! Fire extinguisher? Oh I have to hear that tale sometime, with Mike it has to be a good one! Thanks for being such a great mom to him too, I hope he knows how lucky he was, I certainly know it!
Well mother, i finally read one of your blogs. Very nice 🙂 Thanks!
It’s about time you did it yourself rather than get cliff notes from Melissa! LOL Love you bub!
marvi, this is a fantastic post. you never fail to put your heart 110% into every single post and this is definitely a winner! happy birthday to mike too!
p.s. that detergent story was super hilarious – i’d call it “stress-full-loada-fun-memories” 😉
Thanks Fox!!! It and the one for my daughter’s birthday, were the favorites to write!
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