The photographer captured a younger Tom, age 29, with his head in his hands outside the World Trade Center after the second plane hit. Tom’s fiancé, Paige, age 25, worked for Morgan Stanley on the 60th floor of the South Tower, the second tower attacked. Paige had made it down to the 44th floor when the second plane hit floors 75-85. When the tower fell, Tom still didn’t know that his fiancé had made it out. Paige’s Uncle Todd wasn’t as lucky, and at age 42, he left behind a wife and three children.
Tom and Paige had met through a mutual friend as well as Tom’s x-girlfriend, who encouraged the couple to go on a date. Paige thought if you could be recommended by an x-girlfriend, you must be a pretty good guy. Tom and Paige were drawn to each other, in part, because they both grew up having compassion for less fortunate siblings. Tom’s brother, Todd, is autistic and Paige’s sister suffers from health issues. Tom and Paige talked for eight hours on their first date and they were engaged 10 months later.
They each came from large families on the East coast and they knew they wanted to create the same. Along came Tommy (now in 6th grade at Christ the King), James (in 3rd grade at Hyer Elementary), Jack (in Kindergarten at Hyer) and Todd (18 months), who was named after Paige’s Uncle who had passed. Paige said she didn’t feel complete without their fourth child and tried fertility for two years to conceive Todd. Simultaneously, her mother and sister became patients at Baylor for cancer treatment and she cared for them both as they stayed with her, coming back and forth from Florida. “My family and I share the magic and tragic times, no matter what,” said Paige.
As expected, the McInerney home is a boys haven, with a swimming pool, theatre and play room, a garage full of ride-on toys and a basketball mini court where many intense games throw down.
As we chatted about the neighborhood, baby Todd had removed his diaper and went pee on the deck outside. “Well, that’s convenient”, said Paige, as it disappeared through the crack in the boards. Tom talked about how great it’s been to raise the kids in their Colgate Avenue home. “We’ve had a lot of social gatherings in this house, from an engagement party, to family get-togethers and neighborhood kids coming over. We average about six kids in the house at any time”, he said.
During one simulated WWE smack down, Jack’s collarbone broke while wrestling with brother, James. The boys have been pretty injury-free though, running the neighborhood with their friends. One day, they worked up the courage to ring the doorbell of the Dallas Stars player who lived a few doors down. His wife answered and soon the hockey player appeared in the doorway with a big smile, saying the kids should play some street hockey with him sometime. The boys didn’t know what to do with their excitement, so turned to leave, speechless, and ran!
Tom said that a typical week involves some travel for him (he’s in private equity). He always tries to re-engage quickly when he returns home, being a present husband and father for date night and kid activities. “I sign him up for assistant coaching positions,” Paige said, as she smiled. Tom is usually assistant coaching at least one of his son’s teams. He tries to be patient and fair, knowing it’s about the kids having fun.
The couple had moved into their home in January of 2011 and hired University Park resident and interior designer, Roz Murphy, to transform the house from a mustard tone to colorful pastels. Roz dedicated one room to Paige, bringing in a pink couch that made the boys say “Whoa!”
Soon, the family will move back to the East coast, to New Canaan, CT, where Tom was raised. “We both have so much family there…that’s what takes us back”, said Paige. “The boys will benefit from spending time with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles and we have many friends there, too,” she said.
Tom said, “I wouldn’t change a thing about our Park Cities experience. We’ll have great memories of gatherings around fire pits in driveways at Halloween and also of the neighborhood Christmas pageant and caroling.” Each year, the neighborhood kids grab ragged clothing from a bucket at neighbor, Debbie Smith’s, house and dress for parts in the pageant, which is an abbreviated (and somewhat humorous) adaptation of Christ’s birth. The kids then go caroling, singing about two verses of each song (because they can’t remember the rest of the lyrics).
“You can’t replace neighbors who send down a baggie of coffee grinds when you’ve run out or bring Starbucks and flowers when in vitro fails,” Paige said. “I’ve enjoyed these early motherhood years because of the families that I get it done with. ‘It takes a village’ has never been so true. We’ve always felt welcomed and supported here and are thankful for all of our Park Cities friends and neighbors. They’ll definitely be missed.”
Lynne Lowder is a guest contributor for BubbleLife and Realtor with Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty. She is a Park Cities mom, with three children in HPISD. If you know of a Park Cities family interested in being our next featured family, please contact Lynne at 214-500-2866.