The year was 1990, and I was staying with my two year old niece Stephanie waiting for the call. Stephanie's mom (my sister) was in labor with her soon to be baby boy. Because it was July and I was home from college during the summer, I had been spending a whole lot of time with a certain best guy friend of mine. We loved going to movies, talking, listening to music and laughing. In addition to that, after 7 years of friendship, we started falling in love. This certain best guy friend of mine was Skip (my man). Since my sister was needing help to get things ready for her new arrival, Skip and I would often take Steph to the park or to a playground. Stephanie was the center of our whole family. The first grandchild who not only had beautiful blonde hair and big brown eyes, but she was the most talkative and fun toddler that could ever grace a family's presence. She was our perfect little girl!
The call comes and here comes trouble, I mean Matt. Dark hair, also big brown eyes, but also-100% boy, which means 100% opposite of our Stephanie. He was just as precious, but he was not about to let our attention stay for one minute on his older well-behaved sister. He was 2nd born, baby of the family all the way, and we LOVED him to death. He started entertaining us with Michael Jackson moves after Skip taught him to grab his diaper and say "Hee-whoooo!" Remember from "The Way You Make Me Feel" video: that was Matt. He was always putting on a show for us. However, he could get in control if needed. For example, Skip and I were married at a catholic church and Matt stood still for almost an hour, IN A TUX, not saying a word, and he was only 23 months old. No one could believe it. The same boy who would dive bomb us from the couch, throw fits if he didn't get candy every time at the grocery store, was now the most well-behaved obedient child we had ever seen. We should have known it then, HE WAS ACTING! Look at these sweet kids at our wedding. Matt and Steph look like Precious Moment figurines as our Ring Bearer and Flower Girl.
Matt continued being the little actor throughout the years. Here he is chasing my Ashley around at her first birthday party. He has always been the family clown, ready to make everyone laugh and put on a show. However, when our fun loving, comedic all American boy wanted to move to LA and become an actor, the entire family had reservations. There was so many sacrifices that would have to be made financially and emotionally-all for Matt. My sister and her husband made the sacrifices, made a commitment to devote two years to their son's dream and then finally things began to happen. Slowly, but steadily Matt made his way into the ranks.
About a year or so into their new life in LA, I paid a visit to Matt and his mom. They basically gave me the full Hollywood experience. We went on studio and celebrity home tours, ate lunch at The Ivy(where Matt and I met and took a picture with 50 cent), went to the mall with his friend Mitchell Musso, and bought expensive shoes for the girls at Kitson.
Here we are in front of the Kodak Theatre. I remember laughing with him and thinking to myself, "I bet one day Matt is going to get that break. It may not be an Academy Award, but one day I just know I'll see him on the big screen."
That day happened last night. I stood in line with my husband, my kids, and many friends almost an hour early to make sure we got great seats. When we walked in, I could barely hold back the tears. I sent Matt a quick text that said, "We are sitting in the theatre about to watch the movie with about 30 of our friends! We are so excited:)" He quickly texted back, "Text me after I need honest opionions, no family candy coating LOL. " Skip quickly sent him a text that said, "Here we go" just as the lights went down.
From the moment Matt hit the screen, I had to hold back those proud, aunt tears. He did FABULOUS, and I'm not just saying that. He was funny, a natural, and he was doing what he was made to do. My friends were all almost as excited as me. They all feel like Matt is their nephew too! He has no idea how many of my friends are praying for him to succeed and to stay true to his roots.
After the movie, we jumped in the car and phoned Matt. We were sure we would be leaving a message, but he answered right away. All six of us (Ash's friend was tagging along) took a few minutes to tell him what a great job he did and what our favorite parts were. They were all scenes that included Matt, of course!
On the night his first motion picture hit the big screen, he still had time to chat with his family. I hope this great kid (sorry Matt-ADULT) truly does continue to follow the dreams that God has placed inside of him and manages to do it without changing from that precious, full of energy, joyful Matt we all love. You did it Matt- You did it, and I for one could not be more proud!