Today is my son’s birthday. My first born. We were living in Monterey back then, just up the street from the US Navy Language School. My husband Dave worked at a supermarket and attended junior college. We had a tiny duplex apartment close to the parks, Monterey Peninsula College and the sea.
It was a month after he was born, at Christmas time, that my parents, who’d been divorced several years, each came to visit. One came from his home in Brookings, Oregon, the other from her home in Carson City, Nevada. The weather was beautiful and sunny, just like today and Robbie was being loved over in his little bassinet out in the fresh air under a beautiful blue sky.
My husband Dave and I thought it a bit odd that Mom and Dad would both show up at the same time. We shirked it off. Afterall, Rob was their first grandson, why wouldn’t they show up at Thanksgiving time? We laughed even more when they disappeared overnight and showed up together the next morning. Just one of those funny stories that pops up around Rob’s life.
It was a happy time in life and the joy of my baby boy was over the moon. He was healthy, happy, growing, learning and always curious. We had good friends in our little complex and he had little buddies to keep him occupied, besides his doting mom and dad. He sat on my lap as we watched the moon landing on our great big entertainment console – with a wired remote control – and Walter Cronkite.
His curiosity of the world got the best of me one day when I went into the house for just a few moments and came outside to find my little toddler nowhere to be found. I freaked out. Calling out, racing back and forth to the street and calling the police. I think that was one of the worst ten minutes of my life. Soon enough, a police cruiser pulled up to my house.
The Officer got out, opened the back door of his car and helped little Robbie out of the back seat. “We found him at the park. He was just playing there, all on his own. Now, you keep this little guy closer, huh?”
He’d just walked five blocks, crossing streets, safely it seems, all the way to the playground that we walked to regularly. He was a smarty pants, for sure. Knew how to get around even then.
I’m so proud of the man he’s become. An extraordinary Chef, a published author, a much respected and learned member of management in his career. He started on the ground and is pretty close to the top of that ladder. He’s part of a remarkable loving family that’s seen its share of grief in the past several years. He always gets back on top, bringing the rest of us with him. This day, with so much grief wearing us down, with so much love piling up, he’s a wonderful example of what a 53-year old man can be.
We have so much to be thankful for and sometime later today, I’ll make a brief stop by his house to pass on a little birthday love. This Thanksgiving, our big local family will not be sitting at the same table together. We all gave it a lot of thought, and just decided to be more safe than sorry.
It’ll be Thanksgiving dinner at Rob and Liz’s place (with Sami, Nicole & Ben), at Howie and Heather’s home (with little Vivi), and at Mollie and Matt’s house with Noah, Micah, Peyton, Brooklyn, my son Russ and me.
Tom, Rob’s younger brother, will be fixing Thanksgiving dinner at their dad’s house in Montana. Rob just left there a few days ago after a quick trip. Their stepmom Leona, suddently died (not covid related) and they each got themselves together as quickly as they could and are taking care of Dave now. They’ve really stepped up for their dad. No surprise there.
So even though we won’t all be at the same table tomorrow, or even at the same birthday cake today, we’re all together, grateful for today, for Rob and for the time we have ahead of us.
Happy Birthday to you my son. Looking forward to another meal we make together. Soon.