My Ideal Birthday!

Part of this year's twenty. Geez, I'm getting old.

Being this author’s birthday…I thought I’d let my mind wander just a bit. What would be happening on my dream birthday? Where would I be? Who would I be with? What would I be drinking?

Let me start by saying having a Valentine Birthday is really cool. I get blessed with the ability to get gifts for my loved ones while receiving cards, gifts and well wishes too. So in fulfilling my dream birthday I’ll start by keeping it right where it is currently. My oldest daughter has a really great birthday too, Halloween. I mean…someone is having a party on YOUR birthday every single year no matter where you are or what you’re doing. That would be cool. And my youngest has a Christmas birthday. That’s pretty top scale too. It basically means you get to see your closest loved ones on your birthday in a celebratory mood every birthday. I like that. But as good as those birthday’s are, I think I’ll stick with what I already have and what I already know. Like I said, its pretty cool.

Waking up on my dream birthday my beautiful wife would surprise me with word that she didn’t have to work today and neither did I. And while I grudgingly insist that I have things to do, she would firmly remind me that I’m my own boss and if I want to take the day off it’s OK. So I think about it, briefly, and decide she’s right. I don’t take off too many days. So…why not. Done. No work today.

As I quietly enjoy my morning Sports page with a large (I won’t say “Venti“) mocha latte, I read about my beloved Mariners and their upcoming season. Good news! We’re going to be much improved this year. Good thing, I think to myself, since the past couple years have sucked.

Checking my email is an exercise in controlling my healthy ego as it is swamped with kindly birthday wishes from ALL the people I care most about. Someone sends me a funny video. I LOL.  The Facebook profile pics are all smiling at me giving me a warmth everyone should feel as often as possible. It really is a great feeling and a wonderful blessing. Facebook can be bad in so many ways, but in this way it’s very good. Because I know I’m not the only one to have his heart swell because lots of folks clicked on the FB birthday reminders.

My birthday would have to include my kids. A day without my kids has its benefits, but in the best of circumstances I’m still left with a hole in my day if my kids aren’t there to say, “Love you Daddy“.

Ideally my day would include three delicious homemade meals. Restaurant food is fine. But the best tasting food comes from home…at least in my house it always has. I didn’t get to my current size by accident. HA!

Most importantly my best of birthday’s would include laughter. A single day without a hearty laugh is like a day without food or drink or warmth. It can’t happen. That’s why it’s an absolute must on my birthday. Laugh with me as someone jokingly calls me old. Enjoy the literal truth when someone calls me “Big guy” and probably has my girth in mind more than my height. My phone calls during the day would be wrapped in smiles, like plastic wrap on a piece of chocolate cake. Humor would be abundant.

I suppose a few more things might color my birthday with brightness. But if I close my day enjoying the sun setting out my family room windows, a cold cocktail in hand, and the aroma of a favorite meal wafting in the air…that would be a great birthday. With all that I just mentioned THAT would be an ideal birthday. I don’t need much.

So…what do you know. I’ve had the ideal birthday. My life is so great.

I believe life’s shame comes from a never-ending desire for more. Can we all find happiness in that which surrounds us everyday, for if we can, isn’t that enough? Isn’t it us who have drawn each and every aspect of our lives to us? Aren’t the people there because we wanted them to be? I needn’t be satisfied. Because I will continue to strive for the brass ring, for more relaxing, for more security for my family, and more time standing in a river with a fishing pole in my hands. But in the mean time that which surrounds me is so much more than I ever felt worthy of having I can’t help but be happy, and thankful to the ever-loving God who grants me the opportunities to bring these things and these people into my sphere.   

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A Father’s Love. Happy Birthday to my Son.

This kids is now 20

Do your kids know you love them? Let me rephrase and get specific. Do your adult kids know you love them? From my experience and observations its not such an easy question. Coming through the turmoil that many teens put their parents and family through hard feelings are developed and those hard feelings can and sometimes do last a lifetime. Sadly, they usually extend from child to parent and not the other way around. I know there are exceptions. But I honestly can’t imagine a father’s love dissipating because of teen troubles.

These thoughts are on my mind today as my one and only son turns 20 years old. There are lots of milestone birthday’s but to me this is THE big one. Legally we all become adults at 18 years of age, and at 21 we are legally able to drink in most states. But at twenty you leave behind the teens, the label you’ve had stuck on you for seven years, and you become in the eyes of the world…not just the law…a real adult.

Coming just over 2 weeks from Christmas I’ve always felt my wife and I didn’t adequately recognize and celebrate my son’s birthday. I regret that. And this year is no different. My son has plans. He’s 20. Of course he does. And, of course, he will the rest of his life. Our time has past.

My initial question weighs on my mind. I can’t imagine that I’m the only parent who thinks about such things. Our oldest daughter is now 24. Her challenges as a teen were shocking and remarkable for her mother and I. We really were not prepared. We did the best we could but we felt derailed and couldn’t figure out why our perfect little girl had turned into such a handful. Then it was my son’s turn. Having been close at hand and witnessing the many challenges our daughter laid before us and the whole family I really couldn’t imagine our son wanting to go through and put us through such pain. But he did. And it was not good. The arguing, the yelling, the disappointments, the crushing disappointments. It was really heart breaking.

Obviously I’m not being specific. And you don’t need to imagine two awful little tyrants (either our kids, or us parents). It doesn’t matter. Because fortunately it’s behind us. My daughter lives away from us and while we can hardly say we like everything she does. It’s OK. It’s perfectly OK. It’s her life and my love for her is eternal. My son is still in our home and is still in need of Mom and Dad, or at least our home and food. And his current life is not completely as I’d want it but like our oldest, it’s OK. Isn’t it? Isn’t it the same with your adult kids?

I can say with complete and unwavering conviction I love my kids. I would die for them. I would give all that I own for them. And when we’re apart I miss them terribly. And I’m confident they love me. So my worries aren’t deep, but because of the troubles of the past AND my own feelings toward my own failed parents…some tiny doubt remains. And that tiny doubt sucks. Am I the only one? Tell me. Do the troubles of the teens carry into hard feelings for adult kids? What is your experience?

For me, I won’t be caught off guard if the troubles return. I’ll certainly handle them better…for I still have a 13 year old daughter who at present shows no sign of going through the challenges of her siblings. But its coming. And when it does I’ll be prepared. And I’ll love her too. For a father’s love is unbreakable.

The "Schwa"

Happy birthday to my beautiful and wonderful son.

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