This has been a great day of my life.
It all began for me by hearing footsteps on the stairs. It was my son who came up to greet me and wish me happy birthday. I tell my children some of my happiest memories are of when they were three and two and would literally jump out of their beds and run to mine in the morning. Even though he didn’t run, it was cool to have him sit on my bed and talk to me as the day began. And then, after we went downstairs, my son made me breakfast (not too hard with granola and milk but a treat nonetheless) while my daughter got up, went and worked on some lyrics, and promptly handed them to me and asked me to sing along (it was “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”). Not many people ask me to sing these days so we had great fun. They also had personalized birthday cards prepared to enjoy with my breakfast.
It was then time for the mad dash to school (made it just in the nick of time) and it was time for me to get some office work done (mainly Advent/Christmas preparations). I then headed off for tea with a colleague and talked to two others by phone. It was then to the hospital to visit a parishioner and his brother.
My next stop was to check in with Lesley for lunch. I called, she answered, but I heard nothing. My wife had lost her voice! We solved the dilemma by texting each other and I picked up sandwiches and something for her throat. We then had a fun lunch together and she gave me a card which I will always keep.
The afternoon involved a routine doctor’s office visit, driving out to the lakefront and meeting our choir director to chart out Christmas Eve, and then waiting for my family to celebrate my birthday dinner. In the hour or so I waited, I drove through my old neighborhood and some of the surrounding ones I used to explore as a child on my bicycle. It alternated between the familiar and the brand new. What stood out, particularly in Lakeview, was the new houses are much more expensive, larger, and raised from when I was a kid. But the streets themselves are in much worse condition. It was odd driving in front of $300,000 homes and bouncing around like I was in the back of a HUM-V.
My family arrived around sunset and we ate at Tony’s Seafood and Italian restaurant. I told the teenage host that when I was his age, the restaurant had been a Pizza Inn to which he responded, “It must have been a really long time ago.” Ouch! But he will find twenty years isn’t as long as he thinks it is now. The food was delicious (I had a fillet mignon) and the family revealed my big present was getting my truck detailed (something appreciated after many family outings and meals within). They also said that our next stop would be Barnes and Nobles for me to pick out a book of my choice.
At the bookstore, I selected Michael Creighton’s (Jurassic Park author) “Micro.” This techno thriller basically asks the question of what would happen if we built UAVs that were microscopic in size and we lost control of them. Incredibly, it might be more plausible and scary than the dinosaurs coming back. I am looking forward to reading something just for fun.
And now we are back at the house working on homework. It’s one of those things you don’t think about when you have children (at least I didn’t think about) that homework would again dominate your life (even if this time it isn’t your personal assignments).
On top of all this, I have received five cards in the mail, four phone calls, and more birthday greetings on Facebook than years I have lived.
I know this, although I loved every one of my gifts, what I value the most on my fiftieth birthday was not bought in a store.
God is good to me. And so are my family and my friends.
Thank you one and all.