Their last exchange, however, had not been uplifting. "Drew and my mother, they never really got back on a good note," says Reid. "I knew Drew felt very bad about that. I'm pretty sure he felt some blame."
But it is part of Brees's spirit that he has grown stronger and more passionate from the loss. And here is faith again, building greater love from tragedy. "I've learned never to take anything for granted," he says, "whether it's a relationship, an opportunity or something in your personal or professional life. I just value little things more. Being with Brittany and my two boys. Time goes by too fast."
NOW THE QUARTERBACK is standing next to a dusty circle in the park, where two little girls slap at a yellow tetherball. Brees is holding Bowen in his arms; the little boy's brown fleece sleeper with bear ears is unzipped in the warm air. The sun is falling and casting long autumn shadows across the earth. The Saints are winning, the city is alive, the family grows. The father drops his head, closes his eyes and softly kisses the son on the forehead. Everything is sweet. Everything is right.