I thought 2004 was only a good year. I had no idea. It ended up to be a great year.
The year had barely started when the Patriots won their second Super Bowl. No one I know had ever expected to live long enough to see one victory, let alone two. We were blessed. Surely, we were not worthy.
That was just the warm-up.
I was with the Red Sox from the first day of spring training with a game against Northeastern University, my alma mater. We had waited for 86 years – I still don’t believe it – and the Sox not only came back from a three-game deficit against their big-brother-nemesis New York Yankees but they swept the Cardinals in the World Series, too.
How much joy could one man stand? Now, we were surely not worthy. Was this the apocalypse?
We had barely begun.
Bridget, the beautiful and youngest daughter, announced casually in June that she was with child. She had already bestowed upon the planet, Matthew the Wonderful, who we called “The Human Campfire” because we would sit there and watch his every move, hour after hour. Matthew, now age 5, has 4,862 toys, but we buy more each birthday and Christmas. Too much is never enough when a grandchild is involved.
We never admitted it. But we feared that the “Human Campfire” might have problems sharing the spotlight with this new sibling.
I told no one but I had my fingers and toes crossed when Bridget said she was due in “late December.” My birthday is Dec. 22.
She got closer and closer to the due date. I prayed all the prayers I knew (two).
She called from the Portland hospital on Dec. 21. False alarm. (Those prayers work.)
She called the next day. She had delivered a beautiful baby girl an hour into my birthday. She called her Meara.
Meara Van Der Zee. Born at 12:57 a.m. at 7 pounds 13 ounces.
It took me a week to see her because of my bout with the flu.
Naturally, she was beautiful.
I can only guess what the reaction was in the Meara section of heaven. My older (several months) cousin Jerry and I agree that our forbears were, in fact, the “greatest generation,” which struggled first through the Great Depression then World War II. We could never hope to measure up.
But we agreed that the Meara corner of heaven (we prayed) enjoyed a few tears that night.
The latest report is that “campfire” has adapted very well to the interloper in his family hearth. He was in his room (with the 4,862 toys) this week when someone complained facetiously that Meara (I love that name) was crying too much.
The older brother and protector burst from his room to defend his crying sister. “She is a baby. That’s what she is supposed to do,” he said, hands on his hips. All is well.
Now, 2005 is only a few weeks old and cannot hope to measure up. But the Patriots can get a head start by winning on Sunday and taking us all to the Super Bowl.
Then the Red Sox must repeat for the second World Series in 87 years.
Then around June, Bridget could announce that she is pregnant again and due in “late December.”
Like Dec. 22.
She could name him Emmet.
Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at firstname.lastname@example.org.