I first met Matt when he joined my swim team the summer between freshman and sophomore year of high school. I wish I could say that I have a crystal clear image of his first swim practice and that from the moment I first met him I knew we would be husband and wife one day. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. But it didn’t take too long until the “Gary Hall Jr.” lookalike cause my eye…
At that point in time, I was training out of a pool in New Hampshire Monday – Friday and then would drive down to Bentley College in Waltham MA for Saturday morning practice with the rest of the team. It took me a while to get to know Matt, since I was only spending 3 hours with him each week. But as he started to make friends with the other kids on the team who trained with him every day, our friendship started to develop.
The following March (7 or so months after Matt joined the team), we loaded up the team buses and headed to Brown for the New England Senior Championship meet. Somehow, I realized that Matt’s Birthday was going to fall during the weekend of the meet. Being someone who LOVES to celebrate my own birthday, I immediately felt sorry for him. While the kids of the swim team were my closest friends in high school, being at a championship meet for your birthday didn’t seem very fun. The focus of the weekend was on swimming, not celebrating Matt’s 16th Birthday. And I just didn’t like the sound of that.
The morning of Matt’s Birthday, we were all in the hotel lobby eating breakfast before heading over to the pool. When Matt got up to go through the breakfast buffet, I placed a surprise birthday present on his chair. I watched from a little ways off as he came back to his seat and tried to figure out who put the gift there. He read my card and opened the box… I had picked out a “graphic tee” from America Eagle that had something to do with life guarding… I mean, how cool is that?
Matt came over, shocked that I even knew it was Birthday, let alone bought him a present, and thanked me. At that moment, I thought to myself, “there’s something about this guy….”
Unfortunately at that point in time, I didn’t know that buying a high school boy a size medium is a clear insult. Even though Matt weighed all of 150 pounds, he would never be caught dead in a size medium! It wasn’t until years later that I learned Matt went to American Eagle and exchanged the shirt for a larger size. Matt wote the shirt a lot over the next 3 year years and it always brought a smile to my face.
Who would have thought that 13 years later, I would still be trying to add something special to Matt’s Birthday.
Happy Birthday Matt! I may not have an American Eagle shirt to give you, but I still love you just as much.