Saturday, July 26, 2008

An Occasion

I'm not sure I can do the thoughts justice, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

All day Thursday--from the minute I got out of bed--I was anticipating the night. Dinner with my loves to celebrate a birthday. I had a particularly heavy delivery day right from the start, but it didn't deter my mood. Anticipation has a way of doing that.

All three kids were working so I knew that they would not be getting bored while waiting, rather they would welcome the time to relax a bit. My son had picked an Italian restaurant in town where we would meet. I was there first.

As they piled out of the truck I could see that my youngest hadn't done as I had asked...'dress like it's an occasion'. He was wearing his usual gym shorts, a tee shirt and his baseball cap. My daughter was wearing some casual and appropriate shorts and a pretty shirt. The birthday boy had to work late so he was still wearing his work garb. Carhhart pants and a bright orange construction shirt. As it turned out, I was the only one who 'dressed like it was an occasion'. Oh well, we were all wearing smiles so who really cares beyond that?

An economic downturn does wonders for a family of four that can't decide where to eat 'til the last second. We walked in and were seated immediately.

It was so nice to be with them. It's because of them that I now know what delightful means, because when I am with them I am FULL of delight. Our interaction and banter wasn't anything out of the ordinary. There was talk of the day. There was reminiscing about days gone by. There was hopeful talk of what might be around the next bend in our life's road and my heart welled up inside me in such a way as to say "ahhh, this is what we were meant for. This is love." Each one of my kids has left and is leaving an imprint in my heart. Each one of them is uniquely wonderful. Put them all together and I can scarcely take it all in. If there is such a thing as your heart aching with joy, then I know what that means.

As I drove my way and they drove theirs, my eyes filled with tears. Not tears of sadness, but tears of overwhelming beautiful joy. My tears were my heart--overflowing. My face wet with tears was dressed like it was an occasion.

Because it was.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sixteen. (and 364)

Tomorrow my son turns seventeen.

Let me tell you a little about him.

He is very inward. There are lots of things about him that people just don't 'get'. His humor is very dry (and I doubt it'll ever get wet). His mind is always in gear. He can work circles around most anyone. He is intensely competitive. He is kind. He is generous. He cracks me up. He infuriates me. He is strong. He is brilliant. He uses few words. He loves to learn. He hates to lose. He's protective of his mom and his sister--not so much his brother. He is my son.

Tomorrow he will receive a handful of gifts and he will smile warmly. And in that exchange between his eyes and mine we will both be the recipients of the greatest gift-- love.

Happy Birthday my boy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bright Son Shine

All three of my kids are very bright (I think they got it from their mother). My daughter set the bar pretty high. At the high school she attended they have 20 of the best parking spots reserved for the senior students with the highest GPA's. She had spot number 19 (they're alphabetical).
Now, the school isn't huge, but it isn't tiny either. I'd say there are about 900 to 1000 students attending, so that's pretty good, I'd say. She graduated with a 3.9 GPA.

My oldest boy will be a senior this next fall at that same high school and it has been his goal to get one of the coveted parking spots his sister had. So far it's lookin' good. His cumulative GPA is 3.88 as I sit here now. Which is quite an accomplishment. (No, not the 'sitting here now' part!) He broke his thumb on his right hand late in the fall while playing soccer and had pins inserted to repair it. That meant he had to do everything with his left hand for 8 weeks. Not only that, but he took a week and went to Washington D.C. to attend a National Young Leaders conference and, since it was an event not sanctioned by the school, but completely independent of it, he wasn't allowed to make up missed work. Did I mention 'bright'?

And then there's my youngest. He is bright of a different color. He loves baseball, but he LOVES politics and current events. Politics to him is what baseball cards were to me as a boy. When he has a free minute he will get on the computer and hit two or three political sites to see what the pundits are saying. Not only does he know all the leaders' names of most every country in the world, he can pronounce them too!

Two of his favorite worlds recently collided; Baseball and politics. His Babe Ruth team qualified for the state tournament and, as luck would have it, it is being played right here in my home town. On Tuedsday night they had an opening ceremony where each team was announced one player at a time. While he and his teammates were waiting their turn, the mayor of the city--who I know--was waiting to help throw out the ceremonial first pitch. While waiting, the mayor sauntered over to me and we engaged in some small talk about this and that. In the course of our conversation he told me that he was sharing the first pitch duties with a local 'boy' who had played on this same field who was now pitching in the majors for the Philadelphia Phillies and while we spoke the 'guest' walked in and the mayor went to greet him. Now, my son was watching all of this so I ran over to him and told him all the particulars about who the guest was and what he was going to do. The news spread like wildfire amongst his teammates and soon there was a lot of whispering and pointing going on.

On the ride home, after a few somewhat quiet moments, my boy says to me, "Dad, you know what I noticed?" To which I answered, "A lot of things, I'm sure, but...what?" "Well," he said, "one minute the mayor was talking to you, and the next he was talking to a big league pitcher! It seemed like he was much more himself with you." It was as if a light went on. As a politician, not only do you get to talk to cool people, but you might meet professional athletes, too!


Monday, July 14, 2008

Dear Sun,

I just wanted to tell you how nice it's been to see you these past few days. Life just feels better when you're around. Well, you're always a 'round', but you know what I mean.

About a month ago I was wondering if you were EVER coming back. But, now you have and it's a good feeling. I don't even mind so much when you play 'hide and seek' up there behind the clouds, as long as I know you won't be gone for long.

I guess it's just because I think you're brilliant and warm and your presence just lights up my life. Sometimes when I look right at you I get tears in my eyes. You have that affect on me, sun.

I'm not sure this is true, but it seems like you stay away for long periods of time--like months--and then you reappear for such a short time. If you only knew how much I miss you when you're gone! Don't go away, okay? Not this time.

Oh I totally understand the nighttime thing. It's cool. But, it's that extended leave thing that you do that gets me. I mean, why would you want to leave this place? It's beautiful. And even more so when YOU are here.

I guess I've made my point, haven't I?

I'll see you in the morning.

Just you and me.

We'll have coffee!


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Eye Can See Clearly

On days like today, when the sun is bright and life itself seems to be hi-def, I find myself wanting to slow down and let the brilliance soak into my very soul; To close my eyes, point my face toward the sun and just enjoy the feeling. And the fact that I can feel at all. But when I do open my eyes I can't help but notice a myriad of things that make me want to thank God for implanting in me this thing called enjoyment. Here you will see a few of things I enjoyed today:
The first one is one of my favorite roads--it's virtually a tunnel and when it's warm and sunny everywhere else it's cool in the 'tunnel'.
In the second one, if you click on the picture you'll see there in the middle an older gentleman working his garden. It just looks so 'Americana'.
The house is an old one built around 1860 and is now a bed and breakfast. I just love the impeccable paint job and the way it seems to have been frozen in time.
The last one is simply a bunch of flowers growing wild and bowing to the breeze if for no other reason than out of respect.

What's not to enjoy?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Summer nights (and some aren't)

As a kid growing up in southern California, summer mornings usually started out with a layer of marine air--aka fog--followed by a midday burn off and some haze and warmth. Here however, the mornings of summer are mostly like the rest of the year--a guessing game. The sun may come out or it may not. But lately we've had summer days like the ones I remember as a kid. The fog. The burn off. The warmth. And here? There's an added bonus. The sun stays up till 9 p.m. and we get sunsets like this! (and the rivers aren't made of cement)