So I often allude to the idea that I write this blog in hopes to leave my boys with memories of their childhood, but that is simply not the case with this particular blog. I know in my heart that my boys will not need reminders of their cousin, Matthew, because he has been their hero for as long as any of us can remember. So rather than rehashing how important Matthew has always been to the boys, I will instead explain how important he has been in my own life.
Because it seems proper to start from the beginning of a story, I should say that before there was Jacob, there was Matthew. As everybody knows by now, when Ryan and I found out we were expecting a baby, I was less than confident with the idea of becoming a mother. Let’s face it, I’m not a natural born domestic type girl… I can’t even keep a plant alive, for heaven’s sake! How on Earth would I be able to keep a baby growing and healthy????? As Ryan and I debated our how to handle our new arrival, we secretly debated all the options available to a newly pregnant person… I was leaning pretty heavily towards the idea of adoption, but Ryan was pretty sure that if he had a son, he’d like to be the one taking care of him. At that point, I was beside myself, because I really did not feel confident that I could actually raise a child. Not that I didn’t want one, because I have always wanted to enjoy a little person of my very own, but I was quite literally afraid that I just wouldn’t be able to do it, and I’d let him down. That all changed the day I met Matthew. Matthew was the first gleam of hope that there might be a maternal instinct hidden somewhere inside of me.
After meeting Matthew and watching him play with Ryan, I knew Ryan was born to be a father. It was obvious that when Matthew was in the room, the television, the conversation and any other distraction no longer mattered. Ryan would become consumed with wrestling and teasing and car washes… (That was one of Ryan’s favorite things to do with Matthew, to take him through the drive through car washes…) At that point, I had confidence that at the very least, Ryan could probably keep a baby growing, so maybe things were not so bad after all.
But after getting to know Matthew, I found myself day dreaming that maybe our baby could look like him. Matthew has amazing eyes, and he’s always been very handsome. More so, he’s always been very respectful and obedient, and I would watch these little amazing traits that he held and wonder if Ryan and I could be capable of creating a baby with such amazing traits. This, along with getting to know my someday sister in law, (Matthew’s mother, Heather) I started to find the terror washing away, and I was shocked to find hope taking the place of fear. Before too long, I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of my own little Matthew.
Oddly enough, as the story goes, I did get my very own Matthew, but only as a nephew. (In fact, he stood in my wedding, and became part of my family right at the alter with us.) Of course, my own baby had a wonderful temperament and disposition of his own and was his own person, just as all of us are… but that didn’t mean the story of Matthew in our lives ended there. Not surprisingly, thinking back, my boys, especially Jacob, became just as impressed and in awe of Matthew as I had. Whereas Matthew had inspired hope and confidence in my soul, he instilled strength and safety within my boys. From the moment he met my boys, he has been loving and gentle with them. He has served as a perfect example of how to behave, how to play and how to get along and share. And yet, at the same time, he has captured their attention with his strength, his knowledge and his creativity. Matthew has inspired my boys to play together well, to draw, to build amazing machines with legos and to be better boys than they might have been otherwise.
Matthew is very much the cool older brother everyone wishes they had. He’s always been a pretty amazing person, and I hope that as we celebrate his birthday with him, he knows just how special he has always been to our family.
Thank you, Matthew! Happy Birthday.