When Mother’s Day rolls around, I think about you. Not about me. The day you were born, it was a bright, incredibly amazing day. No, not the weather—it was because you were in my arms.
You’ve always had beautiful, expressive eyes. One relative said, “Look at how he keeps looking at you.” Yes, when you looked into my eyes that first day, I was hooked.
Another relative, your cousin Nina (who is closer in age to me than you) said, “He’s like an extension of your arm.” I always carried you on my left arm (you were a baby, so I could do that). Indeed, you were an extension of my arm….and my heart….and every other part of me.
Dad [talk show host Maury Povich] and I found it quite remarkable that when you were only eight weeks old, he’d hold you upright and you’d strut; one foot in front of the other, as if you were marching. “Is he walking?” we wondered. Nah. And when I’d read Goodnight Moon to you, I’d say, “turn the page.” (The book had those heavy cardboard pages.) You’d actually take your big hands (Dad called them “mitts”) and grasp the page to move it. You were only three months old. True. I have photos and video evidence.
You don’t remember the first time we flew to Maine, where your grandfather grew up. On the plane ride back, Dad was changing your diaper and you gave him a good spray. Dad was not happy about that.
You were strong, walking on your own at ten months. Your first real word was “hi.” When I took you in your stroller, walking through Central Park, you’d say hi to everyone—including homeless folks.
When it was time for you to go to Kindergarten, you actually had to be interviewed at some New York City schools. Can you imagine? Ridiculous, at five years old. You were shy and didn’t want to leave my side, so the school allowed me to sit on the sidelines as a large group of kiddies played, then were individually pulled aside for an interview. During one interview, I watched a little girl being asked to identify shapes: circle, square, rectangle. Then she was asked to draw her own shape. The teacher said, “What is that?” “A trapezoid,” she replied. Uh-oh, I thought.
One of your middle school teachers said, “Matthew knows who he is, which is unusual for a kid his age.” “He does?” I thought. He went on, “Matthew will not allow himself to be bullied.”
Now that you are turning 21 and have found your passion, we are mighty thrilled. Remember when you asked me, “What do you think I could major in, in college—and pursue as a career?” “Identify your passion,” I said, “then you’ll will be happy to get up every morning, go to work and enjoy your work—because you are passionate about it.
So, now your dream is to launch your own commercial fishing company and market so that you can take the tuna from the ocean to the table. That’s rough work. But the ocean speaks to you and you wax poetic about being out there. All that is scary to me but you captain the boat with confidence and joy—and best of all, you keep in touch with us. Thank goodness! Enjoy that fresh air and stay safe and we will see you when you dock with a boatload of fish.
I love you and always, always will. I will be with you wherever you are. Before you were born, it was “all about me”—my work, my career. Now, it’s “all about you.” Mother’s Day is not my day. It is truly My Son’s Day.
Chung is an award-winning journalist and TV news anchor