Thursday, June 4, 2015

An Open Letter to My Son on the Occasion of His 30th Birthday..

There are many things you know, many you remember, and some you may not. But on the occasion of your 30th birthday, it seemed like an appropriate time to share with you 30 very special memories:

1.       I had eight miscarriages between you and your sister.

2.       I had a tubal pregnancy and emergency surgery.

3.       You were supposed to be “twins.” (Looking back now, I can’t imagine having two of you – identical or fraternal.) I lost one six weeks into the pregnancy. You were tenacious and hung in there. Thank you.

4.       I was confined to bed for three months after you decided to shift. I begged the doctor to allow me to work through World Cup on Aspen Mountain. When the event ended, so did that stint of working for Aspen Skiing Company. The upside was that I learned how to crochet; it’s a skill I’d like to relearn when I have the time, and inclination.

5.       You were going to be named Gregory. Your sister chose your name.
6.       After having one Cesarean, because Gwen was quite comfortable hanging out, I was going to try to have you in the “normal” way. Like everything in our lives, “normal” is how you define it. Apparently, for me, that meant another C-section.

7.       In the delivery room, I lost a lot of blood and they nearly lost me. I remember hearing general chatter go to hushed whispers. I remember seeing a white light. I also remember thinking this was not how this story was going to end.

8.       When they put you down beside me, the only clear memory I have was looking at your hands and saying to the doctor that you had remarkably long and slender fingers. At that point, I thought you might play piano. I was correct about the musicality, just not the instrument with which you would create it.

9.       During a short hospital procedure , to the amazement of the doctor and two nurses, instead of crying you fell asleep on the table. That was the start of your being able to sleep almost anywhere and at any time, a trait that has served you well.

10.   You (mostly) slept through the night right from the start. When you didn’t, I’d sit in a rocking chair and sing a song I made up for you.

11.   You never had colic. I learned from having Gwen six years before that Mexican spices and breast milk are a lethal combination.

12.   Both you and your sister had chicken pox – TWICE. As you get older, remember that because you’ll need a shingles shot when you are my age.

13.   You hated (and still hate) peas and tomatoes, which always made me wonder if you were switched with another baby in the hospital. Same could be said for your sister and her taste. Apparently I failed you when it comes to pedestrian veggies, though you recently taught me to like Brussel Sprouts.

14.   You were blonde. Sometimes, you still are.

 15.   For years, you worked on a “condo” made from a large box that was stored in the garage of our friend Laura in Denver. It was quite intricate, with wall paper, furniture and – oh yes – curtains. I would never criticize your curtains as a guest in your home. That would be impolite.

16.   Your favorite books were “Good Night Moon,” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” but you also loved Dr. Seuss, and anything that had sounds, like “Smelly Jelly, Smelly Fish.”

17.   Your sister used to be merciless in her teasing. I told her that when you were big enough to whip her tail, you would be best friends. Moms are smart like that.
18.   I still have the ONLY Halloween costume I ever made by hand since my favorite response to you and your sister, when you’d say, “So?” was, “No I don’t.” Actually, I don’t. I do wish I still had your red felt crab claws from the costume I made you when you were Sebastian in “Under the Sea.”

19.   Costume boxes that started out for Halloween but turned into so much more for you, Aaron and Gwen. It became a constant source of amusement.
20.   I still have your derby hat from “Big Spender,” and the leather one from your John Denver version of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” in the Aspen club shows.
21.   I still have your “Happy Feet” bejeweled neck tie from the Silver Circle opening.

22.   I still have most of your collection of masks, like the one you personally “negotiated” the price during a visit to Chicago when we visited an international fair on Navy Pier. You were so proud of yourself for haggling the price.

23.   I still never hang clothing on the rear hook in the car behind the driver’s seat after I smashed the car on the way to Pueblo Invitational. That was your second-ever competition. You got an ear infection and were sick as a dog but you wanted to skate. I had been up with you all night and we even stopped outside of Monument at a rest stop where you tossed your cookies and I considered turning around. We stopped in Colorado Springs looking for the old World Arena and I saw the International Center. Thinking it was the arena, I parked and we went in to find out it was a convention facility. As we were pulling out, we were hit by another car. It was Valentine’s Day. When we got to Pueblo, I had to call Allen and tell him about the accident, something that was not easy since he had roses delivered to our hotel room. Funny that, all these years later, I now work next to that building at The Broadmoor. I think about it every time I walk outside.
 24.   Having you take me through my basic dance tests was a highlight. I remember judge Virginia Mount watching stoically as we skated by. You came just above my waist and it was everything she could do from laughing – not at your ability, but at my lack thereof.

25.   Pueblo Invitational Solo Dance when you were seven or eight. Aspen Skating Club competitors Gary and Ozzie were standing in corners signaling “One Two Three – Four Five Six” as your dance coach Lisa Warner and I sat on the floor laughing so hard we were crying because you appeared to be dancing to music playing in another rink.

26.   Ice Dance and Pairs. Ice Dance and Pairs. I’m happy you are still friends with at least one of those partners. I don’t know how teams do it. I bow down to Meryl and Charlie, who we saw for the very first time at Junior Olympics when they both were no bigger than a minute.

27.   Drives every weekend from Aspen to Colorado Springs, then flights when Allen started working for the airlines so we could get the benefits.

28.   Planes, trains and automobiles. Fighting over map directions (pre GPS and Siri) and redefining “Terminal Entrance” when we couldn’t get out of the airport in Philly on the way to Wissahickon.

29.   HSBC bag from Junior Nationals in Buffalo that was redefined by Jack Courtney as “Holy S#!T Buffalo’s Cold” when we went from warm to a foot of snow overnight. That was also the start of the now famous “Go Alexander!”

30.  People don't realize that you have an oh-so-not serious side that you graciously share with us. As you continue in your journey, do more of this.

 We have been around the world and back; been to two Olympics and countless national and international competitions. It all happened because when you were four you saw Robin Cousins skate at a show in Aspen. That was the beginning of this amazing journey that is far from over. Thank you for that.
Happy Birthday, Jeremy. You are the SON-SHINE of my life.
Love, Mom


  1. Thanks for having raised such a wonderful man who made a little girl's day at Skate for Hope this year. I don't know if Jeremy will ever know how much it meant to her for him to take the time to have a photo with her so she could send it to her mom who was in the hospital at the time. Thanks again for sharing your son with us!

  2. Aww! That’s really very heart touching story! Jeremy, you have a very caring and loving mom. I am also a single mom and want to host a grand party for my son. He is going to be 16 within few months and I would like to know something about party space rentals in Brooklyn. Do you have any idea which birthday party location is best in Brooklyn?

  3. He is such a gift to the world. Thank you for sharing him. And Happiest of Birthdays Jeremy!