Today is Barry’s birthday. He has already turned 61. That happened at 12:39 am… and the story of his birth is one that his mom, Flo, told me many times over.
Flo was a member of that generation of women whose husbands didn’t have much to do with the actual birth of a baby. The father drove the woman to the hospital and sat in the waiting room for news of the baby and mom. Barry’s father was one such man.
But Flo was even more than one such woman. As I have written before, Flo and Joe were married for 7 years before she became pregnant with Barry’s older brother, Stephen. Flo was born to be a mom, but she was resigned to being a wonderful auntie. Stephen was her miracle… and she never thought that another miracle was possible.
Well, almost 18 months to the day after Stephen was born, her second little guy, Barry, would make his appearance. But his appearance would come after “the fights”… as Flo called them. On June 10, 1948, Joe was listening to the boxing matches on the radio. Flo knew she was in labor, but she didn’t want to take Joe away from “the fights.” She served snacks. She got him a couple of beers. She stopped each time a contraction would come, but she never told Joe. After all, “the fights” were on. It was Flo’s sister, Ursula, who would come over and recognize what was going on. And even then, Flo felt just pretty darned awful about tearing Joe away. But they did.
Flo told me of how she arrived at the hospital with Joe, her mom and Ursula… and it was Ursula who flew into action as Flo nearly delivered her new baby in the hallway. Barry arrived not too long after midnight, on June 11th.
Barry grew up to become a man among men. He can fit 100 hours in 24. He has the energy of 100 men. He has love for a million people, and just about a million people love him. He is brilliant and talented in so many ways that it defies definition. He can fix anything. Make anything. Figure out anything. Talk to anyone… and make the other person feel his warmth and wonder. He is the most accepting person I have ever, ever met. His eyes sparkle and his smile is priceless. He can make me laugh endless times each day. He loves life and life loves him.
Many people call Barry “lucky”… as in anything or anyone he touches benefits somehow. As his wife of almost 33 years, I know this is true. He is that living little miracle who so enchanted Flo 61 years ago, and continues to enchant. He is a man who loves to dance. He loves to sing (albeit, not all that well! Sorry, Honey!). He loves his sports. He loves to cook. He loves to travel. He loves to read. He loves to learn.
But more than anything in the world, Barry loves and adores his family. He is a Dad among men. He is a husband from somewhere where the mold was shattered when he was made. He is a grandfather whose 9 little lights bounce from within. He loves order, but he has no problem stepping over a thousand toys or doggie things each time he enters our home. Each day is a blessing to Barry… and each day he blesses each one of us.
(And oh, yeah… just to mortify our kids, he is the sexiest creature alive. For sure.)
Today, on this birthday, is the first one Barry will celebrate without his mom. Flo loved her sons’ birthdays and celebrated like they were national holidays. Well, they were to her. I have felt our Flo all around today, and I know she is here with her special cake, her special kisses and her special gifts. I feel her hugs and I can hear her saying, “Happy Birthday, Dah’lin.” As we gather around Barry today, I know Flo is here for him… and I’m happy to say that we don’t even have to worry about “the fights” tonight. Flo would love that!
HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HONEY-BOY!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH THAT MY HEART HAS HAD TO GROW BIGGER!!
(By the way, Flo would have yet another miracle 2 years later – Richard!)