Okay.  This post is going to be a little more serious than usual today, but I feel compelled after having written this blog for a while to talk about something in my life I have ignored thus far. Obviously no blogger is required to reveal all parts of his or her life or past, but I feel more than a tad disingenious writing about my life with Maddie as if what I’m about to tell you never happened.

So, without beating around the bush anymore here it is: Maddie is not my first child. Some years ago before I met Heather I had a son, Herb.

I realize this will make some readers think less of me. Especially when I admit that I have absolutely no idea where Herb is today or even if he’s alright. I’d like to think that he is, but I don’t know, and I haven’t done much research into finding out either way. The thing you have to understand is that I was very young when all of this happened with Herb, and I just don’t think I was cut out to be a father then.

Sometimes I’ll be playing with Maddie when Herb crosses my mind, however, and I will consider looking into where he is today. Most of the time within a few minutes I usually let it go. I guess the idea of bringing the past into my new life with Heather and Maddie doesn’t sit well with me. But I must admit that it does make me feel guilty.

Below is the last photo of Herb that I have:


Mike and Herb...1997

I admit I really debated about whether I should put this photo up here on the ‘net, but only because…ah, who am I kidding? That’s an old photo of me and my nephew! (I look uber nerdy, huh?)

I didn’t make Herb up though. He is most definitely real. I adopted him twenty-three years ago.

You see Herb is a Cabbage Patch Kid!

Back in the eighties my sister, Monica, was OBSESSED with Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. The problem was that these dolls were a cultural phenomenon and we couldn’t find one anywhere. My Mom would call every toy store in town every single day, but was always told they were totally sold out. This was a problem as Christmas was coming up and all Monica wanted was a Cabbage Patch Kid. She could give a crap about her two front teeth.

And then…one night we called Toys R’ Us and they said they were getting a new shipment that night, and that the dolls would be on the shelves when the store opened the next day. 

The sun had barely risen when Mom and I pulled into the Toys R’ Us parking lot the next morning and saw a huge crowd of Moms and little girls milling about the store’s entrance. We jumped out and joined the crowd.

After a few minutes I started to feel very uncomfortable as the only male in the crowd. 

“You know, Mom,” I said in a voice that could reach the back of any theater.  “When we get in there and BUY THIS DOLL FOR MY SISTER…NOT ME…I know that MY SISTER will be happy!”

I then winked at the cute girl next to me and said, “If I was here for myself I’d totally be over in the G.I. Joe aisle. That’s just how I roll.” 

Soon the doors opened and everyone raced inside. My Mom and I joined the stampede and raced back to the Cabbage Patch aisle where there were hundreds of the dolls stacked one on top of the other as far as the eye could see. My mother and I shared an amazed look just as swarms of screaming Moms and girls attacked the dolls. My Mom gasped.

“Grab one!” she screamed as she threw herself into fray, disappearing into the scrum of estrogen.

I stood stunned a beat before I used my fat kid frame to throw a couple little girls to the ground and grab the first doll I could get my grubby little hands on.

Within seconds it was over. Every one of the hundreds of dolls were gone. It was shocking…like a scene from that horror movie, “Piranha.” 

I limped over to my Mom who was panting but pleased as she clutched a doll to her chest.  Upon looking down at the doll, however, she frowned. It was a boy Cabbage Patch Kid.

“Oh no!,” my Mom cried.  “Monica wants a girl.  What kind did you get?”

I looked down at mine and smiled.

“A girl! Should we put the boy back?”

“Are you kidding? These things are impossible to find. We’ll get both.”

A couple weeks later it was Christmas morning. Monica unwrapped her two Cabbage Patch Kids and was very happy with the girl, but the boy? Not so much.

Monica quickly pulled the girl out of the box and hugged her.  She then waved dismissively at the boy.

“You want that one, Mike? ‘Cause I don’t.”

I turned to the boy doll who stared back at me, sad and unwanted, from inside his box. 

“Alright,” I said feeling bad for the doll. “I’ll take him.”

I soon took Herb out of the box and opened his adoption papers. His name was Herb.

“Great,” I thought. “Not only is he a doll, but he’s got a wimpy name like Herb.”

Despite his wimpy name Herb turned out to be pretty bad-ass. He’d ride on the back of my BMX bike, climb up to the tree house with me, and even suffered the indignity of having me draw a mustache on him without complaining. Through all of this Herb was always cool.

So here’s to you, Herb. I love you wherever you may be, son!

  Cabbage Patch Kids!