For many people, today is a celebration of their Irish heritage, or at least the Irish heritage of someone they know. For me, it’s the celebration of my son’s birth 32 years ago. Celebrating birthdays is pretty important to honor the day that someone special was born. But that St. Patrick’s Day in 1978 marked something much more to me…it marked the day that changed my life forever.
I was a single 19-year old when I heard the words “the test came back positive”. At that moment, I was terrified--certain that my parents would throw me out, sure that my life was over, and sure that there was nothing to live for. The “man” I was seeing was 28 years old, and to make a very long and painful story short, he turned his back on me and never looked back.
The next few months were emotionally painful and chaotic, to say the least. This was the 1970s…single mothers were not quite as commonplace as they are now, so for my parents to hear this news was devastating. But not once did they abandon me, or push me aside, or force me to make any decision other than my own. They cried with me, listened to me, believed in me…they loved me with all they had, even though I know they were hurting.
I considered all of my options, even the ones that the “father” offered, and realized over time and through tears that this decision had to be mine and mine alone. I made the biggest decision of my life, alone, sitting on the rocks of a stream in the park where I played as a kid. Was I really alone though? No, God was sitting right there beside me. He had guided me, walked with me, led me to that very spot and that very moment. It was His voice I listened to and thankfully, He was in charge, not me, not the “father”.
A few months later, on March 17, 1978, St. Patrick’s Day, my son Corey was born. My mother stood beside me as he came into this world; she and my father welcomed Corey as if he were their own and in many ways, he is. Without their love and support, I don’t know how I would have managed. His birth changed my life irrevocably and for that, I am grateful.
It wasn’t always easy, it wasn’t always fun, many times it was scary as hell, but never ever have I been sorry that God saw me as someone strong enough to be a single mother…never have I been sorry that God saw something in me I didn’t know was there.
I met my husband, Bob, six months after Corey was born. We dated, got married, he adopted Corey as his own, and together we’ve had three daughters who adore their big brother. Bob and Corey are not only father and son, they are best friends. Corey and his wife have given us a beautiful granddaughter, Mackenzie, and life around here is filled with love, which truly does conquer all.
So on this St. Patrick’s Day I say Happy Birthday Corey…and Thank You, God.