Thursday, July 01, 2004

Happy Birthday to Me

I love July.

I sure as hell won't be posting on my birthday, so maybe I should take this chance to say a few choice words.

First, this keyboard is crap. Truly. And I'm not all that grateful for it.

That said, there are many things for me to be grateful for, standing here on the cusp of 27 years of life. Honestly, I hear thirty calling, and life is exactly as short as it wants to be. There's no guarantee that I'll be granted the 76 average years that might be expected by someone in my place. So, in the spirit of thanks for my life thus far, I present:

Some Things I'm Really Very Thankful For:

• Crystal. If there is anyone on this rock that I know everything about, it's her. And if I've ever met a stranger, it's also her. Crystal is my beautiful, changing, volatile companion. I don't know how I could love a woman more, and if I'd even want to. The fact that she has an A-type personality like my own and still puts up with me is humbling. Life without her is incomprehensible.

• Harrison. My first child. Harrison is the best two-year-old I've ever met. I'm doing my best to be a good Dad to him, and he's clearly paying attention. He says 'please' and 'thank you.' Harrison is a great man blossoming. He cares about others and he tries to obey the things we tell him. The thought of him growing up is at once thrilling and terrifying.

• Rachel. My daughter is proof of woman’s godly nature. Crystal and I went on a vacation about a year after Harrison was born. During our vacation, she forgot to take her pill, and became unexpectedly pregnant. I’m ashamed, but man enough to admit that I held this against Crystal for a time. But she was inspired. The daughter she gave me, Rachel, is the sweetest girl I’ve ever met. Rachel gives the best hugs in the world, and her laugh is more precious than rubies.

• Leon and Eric. These two men are not at all like the other, but they’re the best friends a man could have. Eric is the smartest guy I know. He’s honorable, pious (in a good way), and reasonable. Leon is compassionate, loyal and extremely forgiving. The two of them could offer the wisest counsel to the most powerful of men.

• My Mom. I know you think your parents are strange. All parents are. Mine defy definition. My mom and I had some hard years with each other, mostly because we’re so alike. She’s an inspiration to me. The year I graduated high school, she graduated too…Summa Cum Laude in Communications. Yes, a mother of three can pull straight A’s. I didn’t go back to school until I was a father of two. I pulled a 4.0 my first semester. My mom has given me a tradition of excellence. I intend to keep it.

• My Dad. Have you ever known one of those guys who can do anything? My Dad, part rocket scientist, part botanist, part etymologist, part celebrated author, part electrical engineer, part scriptorian, showed me what a wonderful place this world is as a kid, and helped me learn to manipulate it. I don’t know another kid whose dad heat-bent glass tubing with him. Taught him how to catch butterflies. How to build a Tesla coil that stepped house current up to 200,000 volts. That Tesla coil intimidated the hell out of my seventh grade science teacher.

• Julianne. I’ve only got one blood sister. She was born when I was eight years old. I was a torturous big brother. She knew how to get me in trouble, and I knew how to make her miserable. Somehow we grew up and became friends, and I’m glad we did because she is a strong, compassionate woman. It has been an unspeakable honor to carefully scrutinize the young men she’s dated and at times intimidate them for her sake. I can’t wait to see what great things she’ll do.

• Jeff. My only brother is ten years younger than I. Our gap in age prevented Jeff and I from really getting to know one another until I returned from my mission in 1999. When I finally did begin to get to know Jeff, I was amazed at what a fair, giving person he is. Jeff can’t stand the idea of injustice, and he does everything he can to keep peace and make things equal. Jeff is seventeen, and though he’s had a hot temper in the past, he’s got an amazing grasp on it now.

I’m so glad I wrote this. I was going to express gratitude for things that I enjoy—computers, my car, sushi, and instead the most important stuff came tumbling out. There’s an old saying that I know is true.

Writing is easy; just open a vein and let it pour out onto the page.

Thank God for my family and friends. Happy birthday to me.

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