The other day was my birthday…. and I’ll tell you, I’m officially 38 years old! I hear a lady doesn’t tell her age, but I’m proud to be this old. When I turn 40, there will be no black balloons, no tombstones, no sad faces… Sure, I’d love to go back to the 15 year old figure I once sported that lacked gray hair or fine lines, but where’s the character in that? I earned every single one of these gray hairs, including the three I plucked out last week.
Getting older doesn’t bother me, but another year without my birthday buddy, that makes me sad. This year, instead of the flood of tears, I tried to hear his jokes in everything I said or did. It kind of helped. OK, there were still some tears. I believe some people touch our lives so deeply and there is no real recovery from that loss. The hole never heals, you just learn to function with a gaping wound in your heart. My grandfather was that man.
What I love the most is that I’m not the only one he touched so deeply. He left a mark wherever he went. I’ve never met anyone who wondered what he stood for or questioned how he felt about them. He was genuinely caring, and he made sure people knew how important they were to him. The older I get, the more I realize we can’t assume people know what they mean to us. We’ve got to deliberately chase them down and tell them. Scratch that, we’ve got to show them! That’s what he did, and that’s why I miss him like I do, and that’s why I cry on our birthday.
This year I was super blessed by the birth of a sweet little baby on my birthday. I have a cousin, she lives in Pennsylvania, but we won’t hold that against her. I didn’t really know her growing up. She’s a bit younger than I am, and like I said, she lives in Pennsylvania! It’s funny, because when I think back to my childhood, that’s all the barrier you needed to keep from knowing someone. I remember when long distance phone calls cost an arm and a leg, so there were a lot of legless parents out there infuriated over the phone bill.
Enter the world of Facebook, and voila, families are like puzzle pieces being reassembled electronically. It’s neat getting to talk to my Aunt, because she has stories. My dad was orphaned when he was young, and growing up I never got to hear any of his “stories”… so now I’ve got this aunt and this cousin, and thank God for that!
Anyway, turns out my cousin lost her dad years ago on, of all days, my birthday. And she was about to have a sweet baby boy on, of all days, my birthday! To honor her lost father, of course– but that baby completed more than just one circle of life. (Cue the Elton John music here:) It had me thinking, it’s time for a new birthday buddy. My grandpa would want that… he would want me to laugh more than I cry.
So Welcome to the world Little Toby… April the 9th was a great day to be born. There are many special stories to go along with this day, and even though you’re all the way in Pennsylvania, if I don’t see you soon, well, I can Facebook you! I hear by 18mos, most babies can remember their own password these days…. 🙂