I’ve spent the last three weeks clearing out every drawer and closet on the third floor because he’s coming home today. I mean Dodson. Dodson is coming home. We call him our oldest child, not because  I bore him  – I  didn’t; his awesome parents are New Yorkers – but because he gave himself to us when, as a high school freshman just five feet tall he came into our lives as a member of the A Better Chance program in our town.

He and his friend Keith were so small the football players once put them on top of the lockers just because they could. Dodson didn’t seem to mind; he had a fine sense of himself  even then. Didn’t he wear his red and blue satin Mets jacket all that year? This in the fall of 1986 when everyone in every seat around him was rooting for the Red Sox?

Our biological kids were 10, 7 and 2 when he came into our lives and he simply became… their big brother.

For college he had a choice between Georgia Tech and RPI and we were so glad he chose RPI because Troy NY was just three and a half hours from here. He lived with us summers too, and on most school vacations. (I should say that this picture at the very top shows him with our girl Annie when Annie was a high school sophomore.)

He got his first real job right near here, at Raytheon; bought his first car here, which Annie then drove for five years once he was done with it and Michael drove for five years after that; go this first apartment here. He let me practice on him when I was going to school to become a massage therapist. He really bulked up then as you can see.

He called that process “the thickening” and it sent him straight to the gym where he magically transformed himself back into slenderness.

Then one fateful day in 2005 while visiting my sister Nan and niece Gracie in Florida he met the little firecracker God had been saving for him all along. Veronica was visiting from Argentina, he was living in Lowell MA in one of the gorgeous converted mills along the Merrimack River. Could they make a life together?

They could and they did, getting engaged in 2006 and marrying in 2007. They settled in Sarasota and now – now, saints be praised, they are moving back, to make their home and and start their family here by us. the ones who fell in love with him in that long-ago year when it was was the Mets and the Yankees in the World Series.