Tag Archives: Reznor Lloyd

Babies are always a blessing

Christine Veasey at The Vet, September 1980

Yesterday was a very ‘baby’ day in my life. I was surrounded by them almost everywhere that I went. After going to Sunday Mass we headed down I-95 and across the Walt Whitman Bridge, over to Williamstown, New Jersey and a visit with some of my wife Deb’s family.

Her sister, Arlene Clegg, has lived in South Jersey for over a decade now, and she and her family are pretty close with ours. We spend a lot of good times together, from holidays to road trips to simple family gatherings.

We used to live less than a block from one another in the ‘old neighborhood’ on Huntingdon Street, Leen’s husband Jim and I used to play ball both with and against one another in younger days, and Deb was in the room for the birth of both of Leen’s kids, daughter Cheri and son Jim. Growing up they were close at different times with my own daughters, Christine, Kelly, and Melissa.

As yesterday proved, those days of us being simply the parents, and them being simply the kids, are now officially over. At Leen’s house yesterday we visited not only with the folks already mentioned, but with some new members of the family.

Both Cheri (son Jake) and Jimmy (son Ayden) have had babies within the past two months. Well, actually Jimmy’s girlfriend Regina had the baby, but you get the idea. Two new babies to visit at one sitting.

Cheri also had a daughter, Danica, born just under two years ago, so now she has two in diapers. Been there, done that. The babies look great, as most all babies do, and seemed to be pretty healthy, so thank God for that.

My eldest daughter, Christine, had a baby of her own just six months ago. She gave birth at that time to my grandson, Reznor Lloyd, and after we left Leen’s house yesterday we stopped by for a quick visit with them at their South Philly home.

While ‘The Rez’, as I’ve taken to calling him, was sound asleep we did get to visit with him and his beautiful sister, my 6 1/2 year old granddaughter Elysia.

Now at this point I don’t want to intrude on my family members private lives and situations too much, or make any personal commentary. But in keeping it simple, none of these babies was brought into the world in what would be considered a traditional family. None of their parents are married, and all of them face various challenges in trying to put together and keep together their own individual families.

But despite all of the challenges, difficulties and hard work that their decisions to become young parents under these circumstances has involved there is one thing that becomes very apparent when you spend any time visiting with each of them. The babies have been a true blessing in their lives.

Watching them hold their babies, change their diapers, proudly hand them around to family members, some simple truths come flooding back from the early days of my own parenthood. Babies make you less selfish. Not completely unselfish, but less so.

They make you think about someone else, every minute of every day. They force you to become at least somewhat responsible in that you have to look in the mirror and realize that it is time for you to begin to make your own way in this life.

You need to support your baby, hopefully with the full loving help and cooperation of your partner. We even further hope this partner becomes our committed spouse, if they aren’t already.

As I visited with all of the kids and their kids it took me back to my own days as a young father, which really began 29 years ago today. That same eldest daughter Christine was born on this very day in 1980.

I am one of those guys with a fuzzy memory of many things from that far back, but so much of her birth and those early months are still very clear in my mind. Her mom had some physical problems relating to the pregnancy, and needed to be hospitalized for a short time leading up to the birth.

I remember having to stay out in the waiting area after first arriving at the hospital, and the birth took a long time. I slept overnight on the night of February 1st and into the 2nd on a very uncomfortable wood-framed couch in a ‘family room’ area.

The actual birth was a difficult one, but in the end there she was, a beautiful little girl who we named Christine Elizabeth Veasey.

There are so many stories that I could tell of her as a baby and young child, but I can condense it all down to saying that she was simply a joy as a baby. The kid slept for hours in the overnight, always had a sunny disposition, and was an extremely fast learner.

As a young family we had many challenges and difficulties, just as our children do today. Some we were able to overcome as time went along, some we were not.

But one thing has stood out through the entirety of my life. Despite the fact that I was a father at 18, the father of two by 19, the births of my daughters and the challenge of raising them was a blessing from God in my life.

Yesterday I got to visit with all of the new babies in my family. Today I celebrate the 29th anniversary of the birth of my own first baby, now raising two of her own. I love her more than I can ever tell her or show her, and if she ever reads this it comes with this simple wish: Happy Birthday, baby!

Octuplets? That’s How Many?

There is nothing like a new life being welcomed into a family to bring up the spirits of everyone involved.

My niece Cheri Clegg, my wife Deb’s sister’s daughter, was admitted to a hospital over in New Jersey today in order to have her 3rd child.

Cheri was overdue and has been in our thoughts and prayers, and we are very much looking forward to meeting the new entry into the family.

It was just six months ago that my eldest daughter, Christine, brought my grandson Reznor Lloyd into the world.

It is blessed events like these that grow and sustain a family, and we look forward to even more grandchildren, nieces, and nephews in the future.

Just yesterday, at the Bellflower Medical Center in California, a woman gave birth and her family also grew. Why the interest in a California family welcoming a new birth? Well, that birth involved the family welcoming not one child, but multiples. No, not twins, not even triplets.

Nope, not quadruplets, quintuplets, or sextuplets. That would be six, by the way. Do you even know what they call a 7-baby birth? I didn’t, I had to look it up. That would be septuplets.

But no, Natalie Suleman, the California woman, had even more. She gave birth to what might end up as an American first should they all survive. They are only the second set of octuplets to be born alive in this country’s history.

The first set was born to a Nigerian-born American citizen Nkem Chukwu and her husband in December of 1998 in Houston, Texas. In that birth, one of the babies, the tiniest, died of heart and lung failure at one week old.

The other seven children survived despite being born three months premature. All are healthy, happy 10-year olds now. Can you imagine what that family went through, and still goes through, in raising ten children of the same age all at once?

I had two little girls when I was 19 years old, and I thought that I had it tough. This octuplet thing is beyond anything that most any of us could ever fathom.

In this latest octuplet birth out in California, the eighth baby was a complete surprise even to doctors and hospital staff, who had been preparing for weeks for the arrival of what they all believed would be septuplets. That eighth baby was not discovered until well into the birth process, which was by Cesarean section.

Dr. Richard Paulson is the director of the fertility program at USC and stated “When you hear about someone having octuplets, it’s almost always the case that they took fertility medications“.

In many cases of fertility drug-induced multiple births, couples make a life or death decision involving their children and opt for what is known as ‘selective reduction’ of the unborn babies, reducing their number to a level of what they and their doctors determine to be manageable risk. The other babies are effectively aborted.

So despite the obvious challenges and risks, to hear of a couple taking all of their babies through to the birthing process is both encouraging and inspiring.

Both over the next few days and on into the future, this family is going to take on many challenges and is going to need as many prayers as possible from the wider human community, so take the time to say a little prayer for them. Octuplets? That’s eight babies, in case you didn’t catch the idea yet. God bless them all.

Another Auld Lang Syne

In 1788, 29-year old Scottish poet Robert Burns sat himself down and wrote a poem that he titled ‘Auld Lang Syne’, which would literally translate today into “old long since”, “long long ago”, or even “days gone by.”

 It was similar in phrasing and verse to a 1711 work by James Watson, and Burns himself stated that his work was based on an older one.

The song that is traditionally sang today as we ring out an old year and ring in a new one, as we will tonight at midnight, is attributed to Burns and includes the spirit of the older Watson work with Burns own work blended into it.

In this spirit of celebrating another ‘auld lang syne’ we are remembering days or times that have gone before us. People in our lives, events, places that have been important to us. This has been the practice stretching back for a couple of hundred years now.

The Scots celebrated a new year with the song and spread this custom into England, then further on into America and around the world. It became a true New Year’s Eve staple when in 1929 band leader Guy Lombardo began to use it in his radio and later his television broadcasts as his signature song to ring in the new year.

In modern times we take the song to be a last look back at what has happened in our lives and in our world over the past year, and then look forward to a new start in a new year.

In 1981, pop singer Dan Fogelberg released the song ‘Same Old Lang Syne’, which has become a popular radio staple here in America during the Christmas holidays. In the hauntingly melancholy Fogelberg song, the main character has a chance encounter in a grocery store on Christmas Eve with an old lover.

The two then embark on a brief reunion that afternoon over a few drinks and shared memories. But in the end, each realizes that they must move away from that moment’s reflection on ‘the good old days’ and back into the reality of their lives and their futures, which do not include one another.

As I look back on my life, there are many similar people as in the Fogelberg song. People who still hold a solid place in my heart, who in fact will always hold that place.

I look back on them in fondness from time to time, but then move forward again with my life as it is today. That those former friends and lovers are no longer an active part of that life makes most of them no less special to me.

So as I look back on 2008 tonight, there are many people and events that I will remember with fondness that are particular to this past year.

At the top of the list is a welcome to the world to my new grandson, Reznor Lydon Lloyd.

Then there are the new co-workers whom I got to know in my first year at the police department’s Advanced Training Unit. The classmates and teachers that I met during my final year at St. Joseph’s University added to my year.

On the big stage of local and world events there was the incredible World Series run of my beloved Philadelphia Phillies. In politics the emergence of a strong conservative woman in Sarah Palin was a bright spot.

Those were the “hello’s”, there are always the goodbyes. This past year, fortunately for me, there were few family members in that category. However, four of my fellow Philly cops lost their lives this year in the line of duty. My ‘auld lang syne’ will thus include Steve Liczbinski, Isabel Nazario, Pat McDonald, and Tim Simpson.

I look forward to 2009 with hope for better times for my children and grandchildren, and hope for continued health and happiness for myself and my wife Debbie.

The new year will ultimately bring incredible drama across the world, stories that we cannot envision at this moment. I hope and pray that, for the most part, they bring positive developments for most of the world’s inhabitants.

Tonight as the ball drops and the countdown ends, we will celebrate another auld lang syne. I wish you all and all of your family members a very happy, healthy, safe, fun, prosperous New Year in 2009.

Welcome to the world, Reznor Lydon Lloyd

Aunt Kel holds Reznor in the hospital

Welcome to the world, little Reznor Lydon Lloyd, my second grandchild and first grandson.

In fact, he is the first boy in the Veasey line since my brother Mike was born way back in 1963, breaking a 45-year old male offspring drought in the family.

His dad, Bill Lloyd, and his Aunt Kelly were there in the delivery room at Hahnemann Hospital to help bring him into the world this afternoon at 12:11 pm.

Accepting the idea of such an unusual name was a bit of a challenge at first. As my own dad quizzically but lovingly and comically said to me today after informing him of the name: “Gimme something that I can work with, Matty’.”

But as I sat in the waiting room at the hospital, the name wasn’t the least bit important to me. I just wanted a healthy baby with all its parts where they belonged, and for my daughter to come through safely.

All went well, and I was beaming when Bill came out and told me “It’s a boy!” They had intentionally not learned the sex beforehand, so we were all truly getting a surprise there.

‘The Rez as I have already taken to calling him, or ‘Rez‘ for even shorter, was named after his mom and dad’s favorite rock star, Trent Reznor.

Having your grandson named after a rock star can get you doing a little research. I have heard of the guy, but I have absolutely zero clue about him or his music.

At 43-years old, Trent Reznor is almost as old as me. He was born and raised in western Pennsylvania in a town called Mercer, which falls halfway between Erie and Pittsburgh.

A synthesizer-band guy in the 1980’s, he then began in the 1990’s to produce music on his own. This led to his forming the industrial/alternative rock band Nine Inch Nails.

In 1997, Trent Reznor was described by SPIN magazine as ‘the most vital artist in music’, and was named by Time magazine as one of that year’s most influential people.

Having begun to play the piano at age of five, Trent Reznor quickly came to be considered a musical prodigy. One of his earliest musical inspirations was David Bowie, and he was able to later tour with Bowie after NIN gained popular and critical success.

Starting with his earliest recordings, Reznor frequently played all of the instruments, a habit that he continued throughout his career. Nine Inch Nails literally is all Trent Reznor in its studio work, though he does put together band members for touring purposes.

The band is a Grammy Award winner, and Reznor has also worked as a producer and supporting performer for many alternative rock contemporary acts such as Marilyn Manson, Tori Amos, and Saul Williams. He has been hailed as one of the best producers working in rock music today.

Hey, I am a baseball guy, not an alt-rock guy, so naming the grandson ‘Michael Jack’ after Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt would have been more my taste.

And hey, my own name, Matthew, does mean ‘Gift of God’. Even ‘William’ after his father would have made sense.

But my daughter, Christine Veasey, and her fiancee’ Bill are the parents of the boy, and the name was their choice to make.

I am simply happy that he has ten fingers and ten toes, is healthy, and literally is one of the most beautiful babies that I have ever laid my eyes upon (his mom, aunt, and sister were pretty cute too, after all.)

So welcome ‘The Rez‘ to the world, and say a prayer along with me for him and his parents: that they might all be happy and healthy in their lives for a long time, find some measure of prosperity in this world, and open their hearts and lives to let God have a place with their family.

Oh, and here’s to many chances to spend fun family time with his and sister Elysia Bellina’s ‘Pop’. That would be me. I love ya, Rez.