Mad for…Drew

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depends on you.” (St. Augustine)

Appearing again at the reception desk on November 10, 1999 after a long delay in the waiting room, I informed the gal sitting at the desk that I simply couldn’t wait any more to see the doctor, and she kind of rolled her eyes at me and said, “well, she’s quite busy so you’ll have to wait your turn.” She misunderstood me. So, rubbing my pregnant belly I clarified, “that’s fine, it’s just that I am so incredibly dizzy I think I might faint, so I think it’s better if I just leave and go home so I can lay down.” A nurse standing nearby heard the exchange and immediately ushered me to a room and had me get on my left side while she took my vitals. “Oh my word! Her blood pressure is through the roof. Get the doctor!”

That’s how it came to be that Andrew James Thieme was born several weeks prematurely by emergency c-section. He spent some time in the NICU at St. Vincent’s Hospital on 86th St. before coming home with some rather bulky and over the top equipment attached. Dr. Hirsch cautioned me about him, warning that we should certainly expect developmental and other delays. More drama ensued when he spiked a 104 degree fever shortly after being released from the hospital. Long story short, our sweet son had a kidney condition which would require surgery to repair, a thing we’d end up doing later at age 4 (at Riley Hospital for Children) when the timing was right. Those folks down at Riley are rock stars, by the way!

I share this snippet of melodrama today on the occasion of Drew’s 20th birthday because it makes me laugh to look back on now, two decades later. After causing me considerable anxiety on his entry to the world, this young man corrected course in a big way. Drew Thieme is the LEAST dramatic human being imaginable. As a toddler, he’d simply wait patiently in his bed for me to come get him in the morning– no fussing. He’s among the most strong, steady, respectful and emotionally stable kids I have ever encountered. As a little guy, he pretty much just wanted to hang out with his big brother, Nick. Thankfully, Nick and his buddies were good sports about letting D participate in whatever they were doing. Partly, that was because Drew could always keep up with them. You see, he may have started out a little small…but he caught up quickly! My three boys are pictured below (from left to right) Drew, Zach and Nick!

Little Drewbie LOVED games of all kinds, but especially card games and magic tricks! He had a magic wand, hat, and cape that he wore with pride just HOPING one of us would want to see his act. He was never interested in video games, but he typically had a board game or a deck of cards handy. If not those, then he had a ball of some sort! His smile was always bright, and his report card ridiculously good. He’s sharp as a tack and with a terrific work ethic. When his younger brother, Zach, was born, Drew became “his person”. When no one else could seem to calm down our youngest, or if my patience was lacking while I tried to explain to Z some new concept, Drew would inevitably jump in. “Mom, I’ve got this! Let me talk to him.” He even wrote a book titled, “How to take care of your little brother.” It’s a prized possession of mine. Drew Thieme, you have now and always have had a beautiful heart that feels compassion for others!

While he’s not a big talker by any stretch of the imagination, Drew is nevertheless naturally pastoral– a born leader. It’s just that he doesn’t waste words. He’s not enthralled with the sound of his own voice, but if he has something to say, it’s likely of value, so one would be wise to pause and hear him out. As a friend, he’s loyal and caring. As a son and a brother, he’s top drawer. I don’t think he’s ever failed to make me just a little teary on my birthday or Mother’s Day with his incredibly kind and loving notes.

We had a lot of fun over the years watching Drew play baseball, basketball and football. With his lanky frame and his good hands, he was always a valuable player on every team, but it was the way he led by example and the sportsmanship he displayed with his teammates and opponents that made me most proud as his mother. I mean, I did enjoy the home run moments, the CYO city championships (one of them captured below with Coach Dad), and the those senior year touchdowns he scored for the Golden Eagles, too…I’m not going to lie!

Drew is as authentic and honest as the day is long, and filled with integrity and love of the Lord. He’s sincere of heart and filled with faith, taking in weekly mass and availing himself of the sacraments frequently. Jesus is smiling down on Him for sure. He’s a driven young man, but also he knows how to relax in God’s grace. I’m grateful and thankful to have such a son, and I pray for him and his brothers every single day!

As he forges ahead, Drew is a man whose temperament seems to require that he be working a plan. I terrifically admire his drive and the effort he puts forth to get where he wants to be. He was one of the valedictorians of his Guerin Catholic Class of 2018, which was no small feat. His current plan involves finishing his undergraduate degree next December, taking the spring semester off school to work a tax season internship with an accounting firm, then to take the following year and complete his masters degree. He’s the treasurer of his fraternity (Pi Kappa Phi) at Purdue, and a member of student-led School of Management Employers Forum at the Krannert School of Management. He has a part-time job in a computer lab on campus and he’s a practice player for the Purdue Women’s Basketball team. His sweet and very beautiful girlfriend, Erika, must have the patience of Job because Drew is a busy guy. Any mom would be proud, and I am definitely any mom!! Also, thinking about his life makes me sleepy.

That said, God’s plans and our plans have a way of diverging from time to time. My hope and prayer for Drew is that whatever God’s will is for his life that he rolls with it and embraces it, because God is…well…God. He knows what He is doing.

I have my three boys to thank for a very important lesson. I wanted to acknowledge that here as I write today about my own children for the last time in this series. I have long loved the Lord. However, it took me an extraordinary amount of time to realize He loves me back. Just as I am. He used my children to help me grasp it. You see, I love these 3 boys (Nick, Drew and Zach) with a fierceness only other moms can understand. Am I right, ladies? That love is without condition and does not wane even when said young man does or says something idiotic. I mean I have some crazy mama bear claws and my heart might burst from the insanity of the unconditional love I feel for these smelly young men!! Well, when I realized that I am the daughter of the Lord, who is literally LOVE itself, it occurred to me that He must love His child, Shelly, at least as much as I love my children? I mean, He’s GOD, and I’m not… so probably it’s possible He can love even a tad better and a bit more, ha?

Is that a beautiful gift the Lord gave me through my sons? You betcha!

Happy Birthday, Drew! I am CRAZY proud of you. I love you! Happy 20th, you big goofball. I hope you sing so loud from the rafters at Banker’s Life this week enjoying that Luke Combs concert that you don’t have a voice for a week! You deserve it.

“People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him.” -St. (Pope) John Paul II

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