Given to Fly

posted by Momo Fali on May 10, 2010

My husband made me cry last week. The kind of crying that makes your lip quiver and your heart hurt. The kind of crying that leaves you shaken.

In a totally good way.

We were enjoying a Pearl Jam concert when we heard the first few notes of the song, “Given to Fly”. I threw my fist into the air, as any good rocker would, and I smiled because it’s one of my favorites. Then my husband leaned into my back, laid his hands on my shoulders and put his mouth next to my ear before saying, “This song reminds me of our son.”

The tears were immediate.

See, if you haven’t known my boy from the day he was born, you don’t know how far he has come. People who meet him now don’t know that he barely made it through his first year. People who meet him now don’t know what a fighter he truly is.

They don’t know that when he makes me laugh, it is a hearty laugh because I never knew if I would hear him speak. Or, when he completes his math homework that I want to burst with pride because I didn’t know if he would ever be able to hold a pencil, let alone comprehend the problems.

They can’t look inside his chest and see his mangled heart or his stomach which often can’t hold its contents. They can’t look into his eyes and know that he could rarely open his right eye until it was repaired surgically. They see a little kid, but I see an amazing human being who is living proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

A wave came crashing like a fist to the jaw
Delivered him wings, “Hey, look at me now”
Arms wide open with the sea as his floor
Oh, power, oh

He floated back down ’cause he wanted to share
His key to the locks on the chains he saw everywhere
But first he was stripped and then he was stabbed
…well…he still stands

And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky
A human being that was given to fly

Today my son turns eight years old. Happy birthday, child. Fly high.


  • Melisa with one S

    Happy Birthday to one of the most amazing (and hilarious!) boys I have ever had the intense pleasure to meet!

    Enjoy this happy day with your son, Momo. I'll be thinking about your family and smiling today! xoxo

  • WeaselMomma

    Happy Birthday to one of my favorite 8 yr. olds ever!

  • Charlie on the PA Turnpike

    Without sounding lame or self-serving, I think the boy gets his strength in large part from his parents.

    Rock on!

  • Virch

    You made me cry too, in a totally good way as well… thanks for your blog. I am your nº1 lurker! 🙂

  • Piper of Love

    This post could only be better if it included a pic of you rocking out with your fist in the air and the tears in your eyes. The only thing that would trump that would be if you somehow recorded Eddie singing and made it auto-play right where you wrote the lyrics.

    That'd be so badass!

    Seriously though, you're so good at reminding me that every second of life is worth living to the fullest.

    Happy Birthday Adam! 8's awesome!

  • mandibone

    Happy Birthday!

    I am in the trenches with my daughter. We don't know what the future holds for her yet. Thanks for reminding me that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Heather

    Your kid is probably the most incredible little kid I've ever known. Everything he DOES is special. I hope he has a WONDERFUL birthday! 🙂

  • Hockeymandad

    Awww, that is awesome. Happy Birthday to one incredible little boy!

  • Andrea

    Wonderful tears on a Monday morning. Happy Birthday to your little miracle!

  • Sadia

    Happy happy birthday.

    It's amazing how May 10th went from being the most frightening day of my life to the most joyous.

    Hooray for preemies beating the odds. Stupid odds.

  • ♥Georgie♥

    Okay i am in tears…what a beautiful post…Happy Birthday to your precious son!

  • Erika

    Happy Birthday Miracle Boy!

  • BEAN

    Beautiful. Tears.

  • maggie, dammit

    Beautiful. Thank you for this.

  • Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah


  • Maria Melee

    Beautiful. Happy birthday, little boy.

  • Kathryn

    I love this post. My oldest sounds a lot like your sweet fellow. Every birthday is a gift – ENJOY!

  • BabyShrink

    What an incredible journey!

  • Anonymous

    First time I have been to your blog–what a wonderful post

  • Geeks in Rome

    given to cry… so beautiful. those lyrics are incredible.

    Happy Birthday wonder boy! And happy birthday to two amazing parents!

  • SurprisedMom

    Happy Birthday to your remarkable and remarkably funny son! I hope he has a spectacular day! You, too!

  • meleah rebeccah

    Oh! Happy Birthday to your AMAZING and ADORABLE and HILARIOUS son! xoxoox

  • Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]


    First off… EFF YOU for making me cry.

    Second off… you + me + Pearl Jam = Awesome

    Third off… Happy Birthday Momo's son!

  • the planet of janet

    just beautiful.

    happy birthday to your baby boy.

  • Dysfunctional Mom

    Oh, wow. That's powerful.
    I hope he had a wonderful birthday!

  • OHmommy

    Awwwwww so sweet. Happy birthday to your little miracle.

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    That is so sweet! Happy 8th birthday! Hope you had a great day!!!

  • Oscar

    Happy Birthday to your son!

    That was touching, just redig it.

    God Bless you guys!

  • UP

    I can hear my heart right now!


  • AlisonH

    Happy Birthday!!!

  • Amie

    Happy belated birthday to Duffy's favorite Hobbit! See, I told ya I'd check out your blog…

  • Ed

    Nice! Happy Birthday, Kid!

    (The Cleveland Show was pretty awesome, too.)

  • Tom

    Happy birthday Momo's Son! The best kids are reserved for the best moms.

  • Stacy (Mama-Om)

    Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!

    (that's eight exclamation points for ya, kid! 😉

  • Zoeyjane

    That was fabulous. And you made me teary. Happy belated, little man.

  • Amy

    Just catching up and finding this post – it is wonderful.

    Happy happy belated birthday to him!!

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