With family and friends gathered in May of 2015, Melissa Aries and Scott Magerer of Norwood, Mass., sat with a wrapped box on their laps covered in the Patriots signature Flying Elvis. They started to unwrap the package, slowly at first but then excitement overtook restraint and they ripped through.
Either way, there would be a jersey in the box that would give them the answer they had been waiting for: In five months, would they be welcoming a son or daughter? If it was a girl, there would be a pink jersey reading "Brady Lynn" on the back, and if it was a boy, the jersey would be blue with the name "Keegan."
The couple opened the box to see their son's first Patriots jersey.
Unique gender reveals have become a fun compromise for couples who are split on wanting to know the sex of their baby. Melissa wanted to be surprised, and Scott wanted to know right away. So instead of tearing open note from their doctor, they brought the piece of paper and a set of specific instruction to the Patriots ProShop.
"For two or three weeks the Patriots were the only people who knew what the gender of our kid was going to be. That was pretty funny," Scott said.
A mutual love for the Patriots has been at the foundation of their relationship since they met in 2012, so as they were brainstorming ideas for the gender reveal, of course their favorite team was part of the conversation. When Melissa was about four months along, they reached out to the Assistant Manager of the Patriots ProShop Ricky Cetrone to figure out the logistics of creating a customized Patriots jersey that would be a surprise for both parents, and as it turns out, it was a first for the ProShop, as well.
"This was the first time we'd ever done that, which was exciting for us, and we haven't done it since," Ricky said. "It was pretty cool to see the story come full circle. They're a very cool family and great Patriots fans."
When the customized jersey was complete, Ricky and his staff wrapped it with Patriots logos as an extra touch. Since Keegan was born on Halloween 2015, the box has started to serve another purpose.
"It's kind of become his keepsake box," Melissa said. "He just recently had his first haircut and his piece of hair is in there and so it's become Keegan's special box."
The jersey itself is a youth size, so while right now it may "be a dress on Keegan" as he turns a year old, it will last him for years to come. Before his birthday party, they returned for another customized t-shirt for Keegan, this time with a No. 1 on the back. Melissa and Scott both also got "Mom" and "Dad" Patriots t-shirts to complete the family's look.
Melissa and Scott's decision to reveal their child's gender in Patriots style came as little surprise to their family and friends. In fact, they thought it was fitting for the couple.
"To be honest, they were like 'It couldn't be more perfect.' They thought it was such a good idea and something that he will have forever," Melissa said. "To be honest, if we have more kids we were like 'How are we going to top that?' We kind of looked at each other and we were like, 'We're not. We're going to do it again.'"
After weeks of waiting to open the box, both said they it was a relieving, exciting and surreal moment, especially calling their baby "son" for the first time. Having friends and family on hand to share the moment only made it better.
"We saw it, and we went crazy," Melissa said. "You could probably hear the roar and cheers all the way at Gillette Stadium."