I can still remember the moments well. Late fall of 1999. At the time I still worked at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, and had my own segment called “Fly Friday”. We launched the helicopter every Friday morning from Martin’s Airport and then flew from place to place checking out cool sights from the air. In order to host that segment however, I had to get up and out of the door by 4:15am, to get to the airport and be ready to go. It was a solid 45-minute ride, but one thing about speeding down the beltway in the early morning hours, you get the chance to think… a lot. At that time in my life my wife Debbie and I were expecting our first child. Boy or Girl? We were going to wait for the big moment to find out.
For the last few months before the “big moment” happened, I had the chance to listen to a CD a friend had given me. It was Kenny Loggins and an album he had written especially for families, and on that album, a song called “Return to Pooh Corner”:
It’s hard to explain how a few precious things
Seem to follow throughout all our lives
After all’s said and done I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side
So I tucked him in, I kissed him and as I was going
I swear that the old bear whispered “Boy welcome home”
I kept playing that song over and over on those Friday morning drives. It made me think about of my own childhood, but more importantly at that moment, it really made me think about the very near future. I was going to be a father. I was going to have a family. Someone was going to call me Daddy. Driving in the darkness, listening to that song, contemplating what was about to happen, at times it was simply overwhelming, in a good way. I can still capture those memories in my mind and in my heart.
And then… they became reality. January 9, 2000. It’s a girl! Officially, Sophia Rose Brodinsky. But we, and everyone else, call her Sophie. Life would never be the same. Talk about overwhelming. The unconditional love stops you in your tracks. The world shifts on its axis. Life will never, ever again be just about me, or my bride. Life was about Sophie.
Sophie. I remember when we picked the name. It wasn’t our first choice. We had chosen Mollie. But during the pregnancy Deb’s grandfather Sydney, passed away. We already had close friends who named their daughter Sydney. So Debbie came up with Sophie. I didn’t like it, sounded like an old person’s name I thought, and I shared my feelings. Debbie didn’t agree, but there was a compromise. If the baby was a girl and had brown hair, we would name her Sophie. If she had blonde hair, the name would be Sarah. Our baby was born with brown hair, so Sophie it was. Within a few weeks she was blonde with curls. Go figure. But Sophie was the perfect name. Sophie Rose.
Flash forward to today, 13 years later. The bibs, bottles, high-chair, pacifiers, one-sies, glider, swing, toys, crib, stroller and all the trappings of having a baby, have long been put away, given away, or thrown away. The diapers, pull-ups, potty seats, velcro shoes, overalls, dolls, costumes, blankies, and much, much more are long gone. The drop off of the first day at daycare when she cried her eyes out, is now a faint whisper in our memory. The first day of elementary school. The first day of middle school. The first soccer game. The first time she left for sleep-away camp. The first time she told me she loved me. The “firsts” go on and on, some of those firsts are now “lasts”, because they only happen once. But some firsts continue to this day, thankfully, we still say “I love you”, every day.
Now, 13 years later. And tonight, Sophie Rose will become an adult in the eyes of the Torah and Jewish tradition. It’s going to be just like the Tim McGraw song:
Someday you’ll be looking back on your life
At the memories, this is gonna be one of those nights
I have no doubt. I know my daughter. She’s determined, she’s ready, she’s excited. Another first is just around the corner for Sophie Rose.
Speaking of Rose, one more flashback, when I was 13 years old and mowing lawns in my neighborhood. I was lucky enough to have a small radio I would clip to my pants and a pair of headphones. Back then, there were only a few radio stations to listen to and most of them played pop music. As I went from yard to yard I always had my radio with me. That summer there was a huge song by Bette Midler that played every 5 minutes, or so it seemed. That song, was called “The Rose”.
This spring, tonight, in Sophie’s 13th year, the song that ruled the airwaves in my 13th, is the theme of tonight’s party and just happens to be Sophie’s middle name. Rose. And I don’t know why I did this, but I just had a feeling, so I looked it up. Bette Midler has a daughter. Her name… is Sophie.
Funny how life works. Sometimes you don’t try to understand, you just go with it:
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose.
Yes, we’re a long way from Pooh Corner, and our Rose continues to bloom.
You can bet this is going to be one of those nights.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
(Pooh corner) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjIYTd_lJqs
(One of Those Nights) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJrI8Eqm82E
(The Rose) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxSTzSEiZ2c