Happy birthday Jogo

Seventeen years ago you were born right on Labor Day, you were thoughtful even then. I was working as a kindergarten teacher and was nervous of going into labor in the middle of the school day. My due date was Sept. 16th, but luckily you came early, when your dad and I were home. This gave us time to calmly go to the hospital, for what we thought was a precautionary visit. Three hours later, you were born and our lives were forever changed, especially your brother’s who wanted to put a toy car in your hand right away to play.

As a middle child you have always been the peacemaker. You and your brother have always been close and had each others back which was great. However, you at times felt “bad” that your sister did not have a sister to share that same bond, so you played with her and did whatever you could to make her happy. I have to admit she at times took advantage of that, especially when we traveled and you offered to pack up her bag. I am sure she would take you up on that offer even today….. You have a BIG and kind heart, there is no doubt about that.

These past three years have changed the course of your life as a soccer player, but most importantly, I have seen you grow and mature into a wonderful young man. My grandmother used to say that our children are only “borrowed” for 18 years and then they leave home to build their own lives. In my case, you left home much earlier, at the short age of 13. That makes me appreciate even more all those hours we spent in the car driving to practices, games and out of town tournaments, talking to you and enjoying the simple things.

Having a September birthday meant you were always home because school had already started. This year that is not the case. This is the first year you spend your birthday away from home, the first of many…that is how life goes sometimes. As I reflect on this, I realize I am not sad because I know you are surrounded by people who truly care about you. So far, you have had a home cooked family meal and a chocolate cake baked just to celebrate you. Who knows, you may not miss home after all, which is great, because feeling happy, surrounded by a strong supporting network helps you focus on your goals. Regardless of where this football journey takes you, there is no doubt the experiences you are living and the characters you are meeting along the way will be in your heart forever. Enjoy the ride son. Feliz cumple mi niño lindo.

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