Mad for…Nick Fred

You have such a big heart, you’re bound to have it bump a couple of things along the way. Never make it smaller so that your journey will be easier because there might come a time when you will need the magnitude of your heart to help others in this life. No one wishes the sun to be smaller so that they can find their way west or the north star to find their way home. Be grateful for your big heart for each pump brings new life. (T.B. LaBerge)

August 5, 2019–

I love this photo. It captured the moment that my oldest son, Nick, held his little brother, Drew for the first time. Nick had waited and waited, and then when Drew arrived he went to the NICU, so he had to wait 10 more days. He was SO THRILLED to be a big brother. The photo has a simple note on the back, “Nick holds Drew for the first time, 11/20/99.” Look at the sweet smile on Nick’s face. I don’t mean to go a mushy mom today, but the truth is that Nick’s beautiful heart was evident from the time he was quite small.

He was a fun little boy, and a complete gift from the Lord I could never deserve. Tom and I joked when he was a pre-schooler that we needed to buy stock in 3M, because he was WAY into building things in three dimensions out of construction paper. There were a LOT of versions of the “green monster” at Fenway Park lovingly cut and taped together with rolls and rolls of scotch tape. He liked superheroes too, often fashioning masks and capes from that same construction paper and taping them to his face. He’ll not be thrilled that I found an example to share today, but what are moms for, if not utter humiliation…am I right?

Below: Super Nick!

He dressed as Buzz Lightyear almost daily for a couple of years, and he insisted that Drew be his sidekick, Woody. I wish I could find a photo of the two of them dressed up at Halloween, but that nugget of fabulousness eludes me today, on this, Nick’s 22nd birthday!

Nick is a sports crazy, testosterone filled young man. He was a standout on the baseball field with a big bat and fantastic hands at 1st base who never quite mastered sliding like normal players, so he took to the head first diving technique (which made me slightly crazy as his mother). He played some outfield too and MANY times gunned down runners who had tagged up at third with his surprisingly strong left arm. He’s still got a decent jumper and will mix it up playing hoops with anyone. His senior year in high school, he took up football where he logged a lot of downs on the defensive line. He LOVED that team! These days, though, it’s the game of golf that has his heart. He’s been at the course almost everyday this summer. He and his Xavier University club golf teammates are headed back to their national tournament this fall after winning the club golf championship this past school year. All that is good, and I’m glad he enjoys team sports. Mostly, though, I am proud of his work ethic and what a good and supportive teammate he has always been. Many meaningful friendships in his life have been forged through his passionate love of all sports!

It’s hard for me to believe this kid, the one who first made me a mother, is turning 22 today. There were many times during the past two decades when I felt like I had failed him as a mother. We all feel that way sometimes, I suspect. We notice (especially with oldest children) that we should have done more, or done it differently. We should have been more patient, more loving, or less clueless!

Here’s the thing. A few weeks back, Nick noticed that I was a little blue and he texted me “Hey mom just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and prayed a decade of the rosary for you on the way to work. Hope you have a great day!” Then, last week when I was truly suffering from the loss of a dear friend, he came at me in the kitchen with his big bear hug and told me he loved me and that he knew it had been a rough week for me. Umm…something went right? What I am attempting to say is that while it’s true I could have spent more energy encouraging cleanliness, for instance, this kid of mine is a very fine human being with a heart of gold. I am so proud of him.

Nick will graduate with a degree in Finance from Xavier University next spring. He has a knack for getting along with others, respecting all despite any differences. His friend groups reflect that terrific gift too. Bright, handsome and with a sunny disposition, Nick sees the positive things in life. I’m going to guess he might not be the flashiest interviewee the college recruiters ever meet, but trust me that is much more about his humility than it is a reflection of the kind of employee he will be. I know I’m his mother, but I’m just saying…whoever ends up with him will have a gem in their organization, because THIS YOUNG MAN IS THE REAL DEAL! He’s a hard worker who builds relationships that last. Wherever he lands, that’s one fortunate organization. His future is bright!

Nick’s a phenomenal friend to many and the best big brother I could ever want my younger sons to have. He’s honest and character filled. He’ll also want you to know that he might not be the biggest, but he’s definitely the strongest of the Thieme men, ha?!

Above: Nick (in yellow), with his brothers Drew and Zach

Today, on the occasion of your 22nd birthday, Nick Fred, I just want you to know that I LOVE YOU TO INFINITY AND BEYOND! For your sake, I hope it’s a banner year for the Pacers, Colts, Boilermakers and Muskies. It looks like you may have to wait another year on the White Sox, ha?! Our good and gracious God sees your glorious heart, and so do I! Keep on shining, kid. Happy Birthday!!!

1 thought on “Mad for…Nick Fred

  1. He’s definitely one of the Lord’s finest ever creations! He shines one of the best ever smiles, and he’s so much fun! He’s quite handsome as well! Love Nick! ❤️

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