Archive for April 5th, 2018

Birthday Thoughts

April 5th, 2018


When I was on that gurney in the ER at age 38 with a ruptured esophagus or was having stents placed at ages 49, 50, 58, and 67, or even at age 17 when the car full of my high school buddies was hydroplaning and spinning out of control on Route 51, I never thought I’d make it this far.

But as I look back over the past 70 years, I know for sure there have been accomplishments, successes, and joys that my parents would have been incredibly proud of and would have enjoyed sharing with me. I miss my family and friends very much.

Of course, I’ve made mistakes, plenty of them and would have done some things completely differently, but we can’t live a woulda, coulda, shoulda life either. We can’t change yesterday, and we don’t have tomorrow yet. All we have is, today, and we must make the most of it that we can.

But there is one thing that I really do know. The best part of my life started about fifteen years ago when a baby named Jude was born. After Jude came Nina, Lucy, Laura, Zoey, and Pete, and nothing, absolutely nothing has been more perfect than having had the opportunity to be their grandfather. The joy that I’ve experienced from having those kids in my life was magnitudes greater than I ever thought possible.

Do not get me wrong, I adore my kids and would give my life for them any day of the week, but when you have your own kids they come with a lot of responsibility. You’re not only responsible for feeding, clothing, housing. and educating them, it’s your job to make sure they grow up to be productive world citizens and that responsibility comes with a lot of angst and concerns.

Yeah, it all worked out great, but there were plenty of frightening days and nights during that journey. These grandkids, though, well, they clearly are not my responsibility, and what a relief that has been. It’s freedom, happiness, joy, and unlimited, unconditional love. There’s nothing like it.

However, my second shift of babies are growing up, my journey is once again changing, and I find myself searching for ways to continue to remain relevant. People ask me about my bucket list, but it’s pretty much empty because I’ve gotten to experience things that I never dreamed possible. No, I’m not wealthy, I’m not a TV star or a celebrity, and I’m not famous, but I’ve been very lucky with absolutely the most important thing life can offer, a wonderful family and the knowledge of having lived a purpose driven life.

It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve had to wear a suit and tie every day to work, since I’ve had to answer to a board of directors, since I’ve been on call 24/7 365 with the responsibility of hundreds of lives to protect and support. Truth be told, I don’t miss that part of my life very much. Sure, I miss the interactions with friends and co-workers, the banter at lunchtime, the challenges of building, growing, and maintaining something, but there’s a lot to be said for my life now.

I recently heard a student of Stephen Hawking talk about his passing from an astrophysics perspective. She said, ”When a large heavenly body dies, it explodes into many pieces and produces lots of stars.” That’s the legacy I hope to leave behind.”

So, where does it go from here? I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to get there. That’s in the hands of a higher power, but when grandparent’s day rolls around, count on the fact that this poppa will be floating higher than a Snoopy balloon at the Thanksgiving Day parade because my legacy will live on six different ways through six amazing, wonderful, beautiful stars, my grandchildren, and that’s enough for me.