Sunday, October 2, 2011
Twenty-five Years Ago Today
John Danaher has spent a good deal of our marriage on the road visiting customers, usually at gas processing or window manufacturing plants. I could put my finger on a calendar from days gone by and there is a possibility that he would have been on a business trip on that day many years ago. I do know for sure that on October 2, 1986, John was in Louisville, Kentucky, visiting a customer. How can I be so sure? Because he was squeezing in his last business trip before the birth of baby number four, due around October 18th, except baby number four, now known as Matthew John Danaher, decided to arrive early sending all of us into a panic.
Matthew had tried to get out one week earlier, but that proved to be a false alarm and a foreshadowing at the same time. We worried that I might not make it to the end of John’s last, long trip and we didn’t. Rebekah, Rachel, and David were asleep when the pains began. I called my mother to take me to the hospital, my neighbor to babysit the kids, and John to complain about his not being home. We arrived at Christ Hospital where they prepped me for my 3rd C-section because even though the doctors were OK with a normal birth, Matt was breach and not wanting it any other way.
Everything went smoothly. The darkest of my newborns was brought out to his Grandma Marilyn where she exclaimed, “Finally, my Italian baby!” These days when Matt grows out his substantial beard, which takes about two days, my father refers to him as Omar.
So John high-tailed it home to his second son, now part of the rebuilding of the Danahers of Wenona, Illinois. John’s dad, John Sr., had been the last of the descendents of the men who had migrated from County Limerick, Ireland. But John had married Rosemary Cassidy and in no time they had 5 boys and 5 girls. Those five boys have begotten 10 grandsons, thereby continuing the Danaher name, so all is well.
Matt has been one of the most low-maintenance kids I have ever met. He loved his family, but all he cared about was being with his brother. By the time he was two, he would wake in the morning, come running into the kitchen and ask, “Where’s David?” This was the beginning of the contrast between the two brothers. David, like me, was always up and moving early while Matt, like John, could, according to my father, “Sleep on a picket fence.”
One day he came in from outside and proceeded to gather a paperclip, rubber band, the dislodged trigger from his toy gun and some other odds and ends. I asked what he was doing and he announced that he was going to fix his broken rifle. Pretty impressive for a 3 year old.
At the end of each year, John would have to tally our healthcare costs for each child, and although Matt always seemed to have a perpetual runny nose, we hardly ever had any bills for him. He never seemed to ask for much. He and David loved their Legos, but as long as he had his brother he was content. Matt also displayed a streak of stubborn loyalty. In 1992, this 6 year old, from the back seat of the car, rebuked me when he found out I was supporting Pat Buchanan against President George H. W. Bush in the Republican primary.
All of the kids had to take piano lessons, but by the time Matt was being instructed he had already become familiar with the pieces of music from listening to his sisters and brother practice. Our piano teacher was slightly frustrated because he wasn’t really reading any notes. He just picked it up aurally. He then proceeded to learn the mandolin, guitar, and Scottish snare drum for the bagpipe band in which his sister and brother were members. Over the years Matt has proved to be quite the musician. If I had let him, he might have eschewed higher education in favor of trying to make it in the music industry, but I had spent his childhood hammering home the rule that he had to complete a college degree and so he did.
My fourth child, my second son, is making his way in this world and his dad and I couldn’t be more thankful that at the age of 25 he holds fast to the faith of his fathers and seeks to serve Christ. My only prayer is that God will teach him that the Chicago Bears are not worth the torture he allows them to inflict every Sunday.
We love you Matthew. Happy 25th Birthday.