Twelve years ago today I was giving birth to my son, Matthew, in a rather urgent manner. I was just settling in for what was predicted to be a 4-6 hour wait, my Dr. patted my hand, assured me he would check in later, and I sent Joe on his way to grab a bite to eat and pick up the music we wanted to play in the delivery room. Two years earlier we had had our first son, a picture perfect birth, born on St. Patrick’s with Irish music blasting away, a happy, happy day. We had this down, seasoned pros that we were. Five minutes after Joe left, I sat bolt upright in the bed, a pressure from the deep, this kid wanted out. I requested help loudly, and 15 minutes later, the shocked team of nurses and the Dr. returned . I will never forget the look on Joe’s face, standing in the doorway with a boombox in one hand and a Subway sandwich in the other, a midst the chaos of a sudden delivery , saying “What’s going on?’..to which the Dr. responded, “We’re having a baby, that’s what’s going on!” Duh. Express baby, I imagined a freight train , horn blaring as he raced into the world, silently, as the cord was dangerously wrapped around his neck, twice.( Little did I know then that that would be his last silent moment to date.) The team breathed life into him, he gasped, cried, and given to his bewildered but relieved parents. Matthew has been on the non-stop flight of life since that day. An intensely curious child, I should have known when I found him, at age 5, buried in the aisle of the public library, surrounded by art books he had pulled off the shelves, lost in a book of drawings by Leonardo DaVinci, stuck on the nude sketch of Leda and the Swan. He tucked the book under his little arm and marched it to the checkout. Matthew grew fast, a gentle giant of a boy, hands the size of baseball mitts, feet like pontoons. He was the 8 year old in the back of the classroom at the big desk, the kid who helps the teacher rearrange furniture. He grew stubborn and inpatient. Never wanting help, never requiring help, an awesome student, amazing considering the awesomely disorganized mess that his physical surroundings are. The awful show “Hoarders” comes to mind when I enter his mad, mad world that is his bedroom, which I silently move through at night with a garbage bag, while he sleeps. Correction, this child has never slept, he passes out, a total shut down to prepare his brain for another day of being Matthew. He has made our lives a roller coaster, intense highs, breath stopping lows. Medication? Believe me, I have thought about it. But, then he he presents me with a beautiful photograph, or makes an observation that leaves our jaws dropped. This kid feels, loves, breathes in every moment that he can. A loyal friend, a sensitive friend, not so much like the other kids…sometimes being excluded from the masses. Last year, on his 11th birthday, I took him out for a special lunch, just the two of us. He was chatting happily away, while doodling on the white paper that was pulled over the tablecloth, when I clued in to what he was drawing, I saw hearts everywhere and a big one with “Mom” in the middle. While I had to chuckle at dining with Oedipus Rex, my heart filled with love for this wild and wonderful boy. Love you too Matthew.