Yesterday was a fantastic day. It was Janet’s birthday and every year I am reminded that it may be her birthday but I am the one who received the gift – my life with Janet. To be sure, it was an unusual day. After all, we are a family that is pretty tight and we celebrate most occasions together.
Before the kids were born, we spent special occasions with either Janet’s family, or my family; and when our children came along, we just got used to having a number of folks around whenever we had something to celebrate. After all, that is what life is all about – relationships – and to be sure, anybody who enters the family has to kind of run the gauntlet of understanding what they are getting into.
We are a tough family to join – we love hard and to be brutally honest, we are very outspoken with one another. I guess you could say that we are not for the weak of heart. All of our children, and our grandchildren, have grown up learning about dignity, respect, family values, service to others and, above all, God. Janet is the glue that holds everything together. And it is a rare occasion that we aren’t all together on her birthday – or any family birthday, for that matter.
Kristin, our eldest daughter, has even started a tradition of each family member being celebrated on their special day with each of us speaking about memories or lessons we learned from one another. It has really become something to look forward to even though it took some getting used to in this family…
So imagine this year – Kristin, Chip and her middle son, Carter, are in Germany for spring break. Connor, her eldest, is in Cincinnati at school and Cooper, her youngest, is in Florida with the family of a friend for his spring vacation. Our daughter, Jill, Matt and their sons, Drew and Lucas, are in Nashville for a few days. Andrew, our son, is in town… So… aside from Kristin, both Jill and Andrew visited us for a while yesterday.
But for most of the day, Janet and I were alone – something that hasn’t happened on her birthday since we were married – and I doubt that Janet has ever had fewer family members around even before then! And you know what? It was terrific. Now don’t get me wrong – it is wonderful to celebrate with a full house. But as the kids, and now the grandchildren, get older, Janet and I are finding great peace in spending time with each other – reminiscent of how we were in the beginning.
We went downtown to see a play – and then came home to make smoked pizza together and watch the NCAA Final Four on TV. Of course, I had a cake for her as well. So I lit the candles and brought it out – singing Happy Birthday all by myself! That was the first time in my life that has happened! And you know what, it was wonderful to spend Janet’s birthday with her – just the two of us – with the exception of a ton of calls wishing her “Happy Birthday” from all over the place.
As we grow older together, we enjoy each other’s company more than we ever have. There is something very comforting about being with someone as we approach our 49th anniversary and more than 64 years of knowing one another. It’s just GREAT!
Tonight’s verse is from the book of Proverbs – chapters of wise sayings that have withstood the test of time. We are told, in Proverbs 5:18, “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” That pretty much says it all.
My encouragement this evening is that the Lord loves it when we have longstanding relationships with one another. And He rejoices when His children have led the kind of life that Janet exemplifies. My prayer is that we can all have that kind of faith – a faith that withstands time, circumstance and always seeks to the the Godly thing. She’s not only a great wife, but a terrific mother as well! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…