Max's magic

Date with destiny

Every so often I do this thing that drives Clay nuts.

“What were you doing when you were…seventeen?” I’ll ask, my head on his shoulder. I can feel him heave a deep sigh.

“What do you mean? I was in high school. I was doing…high school.”

“Yeah, but who was your best friend? What sports were you involved in?” Pause, then the question he really hates. “Who were you dating?”

He hates these questions, because half the time he can’t remember the answers, and he sees no reason to talk about the things he can remember. The past. It’s over, have you noticed?

But I love to know about his past. I love to hear about the little details, the mundane slivers of real life that help me to picture him back then. When he was Tre’s age he spent his summers riding his bike and skinny-dipping with his band of feral boys. When he was eighteen he tossed his open pocket knife on the seat of his truck next to him while he was driving, and it bounced over and sliced into his…um…hip, leaving him with a scar that you will never see, thankyouverymuch.

See, if I can imagine his life, I can match it up with mine. When I was graduating high school, he lived in Kansas, and hated it. It’s like a movie, with images of the two of us moving through our lives, unaware that we were each other’s futures. When the rest of us found out that Desert Storm was in motion, I was nineteen. I stood in my apartment, listening to the radio reports, and stuck a tiny construction paper American flag to my bedroom wall. It had been made for me by a four year old girl who attended the preschool I worked at. While I felt the point of the tack work its way into the gritty drywall, Clay was in the sand in Iraq. His mom was working in a hospital in Hawaii, and went home early, unable to both work and process the fact that her baby was in the middle of a war. That might not seem like part of Clay’s story, but you’d damn well better believe part of the foundation of the man he is happens to be his mom’s love.

Clay doesn’t see the importance of all this, which is fine, since it’s MY movie in MY head. But this week we got something in the mail that (I like to think) bolstered my reasoning.

Did you know adopted children get brand new birth certificates?

We paged through them, reading the facts like we didn’t already know that Tre was born July 25, 1995, at 8:51 PM, in Denver. Right there, father’s name, Clay, age, 29.

“What were you doing then?” I asked.

One year out of school. Lived in Washington

Maxwell, born August 19, 1998, 1:08 PM. Father’s age, 32.

“I lived in Washington still.” He gave me a look. “I was SINGLE, ok?”

Raphael, born June 13, 2001, 10:30 AM. Father’s age, 35.

Lived in Idaho. "I was married then,” he muttered.

Well of course he was, no need to pretend. I like to imagine that at 8:51 PM on July 25, 95 and 1:08 PM on August 19, 98 and 10:30 on the dot the morning of June 13, 01, when each boy took their first breath and let out their first cry, Clay felt it and paused a moment. I like to picture him looking up, trying for a moment to locate a sound he couldn’t even hear, before shrugging and going on with his day. Silly, I know.

But whether he knew it or not, his sons were being born, and he was destined to be their dad.



I have one of those, special birth certificates. I believe in my soul that as it says on that certificate who my Dad is and where he was in his life the day I was born. So what if I met my dad 5 years after I took my first breath -- I met him and his name is on my certificate to prove it.

My dad is probably a lot like Clay, he doesn't talk about the before-days ever. Well, I've gotten him to speak of his childhood and a few teens years. The 20's are dark (much like the Dark Ages, but still). My dad makes it seem like his life began when he married my mother and became my dad.

And well, maybe, there's a part of me that's ok with too.


You are an AMAZING soul. :-)




Simply put, that's beautiful. I'm so happy that you found each other.


Beautiful. Thank you for sharing that.


Congratulations to all of you. I couldn't read a happier ending!!!


Praise God! And congratulations!


That was beautiful. I love the thought of seeing it as a movie.

Emily R

This was a great post. I have friends waiting to adopt and we keep thinking "is the child conceived yet?"

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