Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jeff’s 39th Birthday

Happy Birthday son.

Your age makes my place in the world unquestionably clear. You are approaching middle years with a small son of your own. I am the grandfather and I am a senior. I marvel at the truth that my little boy has become this impressive man who makes me proud.

You were a beautiful boy with blond hair and hazel eyes. You were your kid sister’s constant companion. You were a southpaw and I loved seeing you throw and draw and handle things with your left hand. I didn’t correct your natural preference and I was bugged by educators who did not understand the special needs of lefties, such as school desks with a supporting left arm and scissors designed for a left hand. You compensated successfully.

You made your sister laugh, frequently and uncontrollably. You have always had a great sense of humour which you honed and enhanced with sarcasm, which has systematically broken me up. Good on you. Laughter helps to make life work.

In contrast with your comedy was a low frustration level. You displayed an occasional exasperation. I reluctantly confess that you must have inherited this genetic volatility from me. Sorry! Yet with the use of ‘genetic’ I am not taking full responsibility for it. Someone else is to blame. On the other hand while I have no evidence to support my notion, I believe that irritation and determination are coupled. You were resolved to understand or overcome or master anything that challenged you enough.

You were an inquisitive child and mechanically minded child. You dismantled and reassembled objects to examine their parts. One of your standout accomplishments was your design and construction of a fiberglass model radio controlled racing boat. Then one glorious morning at the cottage the morning stillness was cut by the sound of the high-pitched success of that small boat cutting around the lake.

I will forever remember playing on the church softball team together with my teenage son for several seasons. I will never forget white water rafting with you and climbing Black Tusk. I admired your interest in various sports through the years, from wind surfing and wake boarding to snow boarding and sports fishing. I have appreciated your eagerness to try new things, fly tying, silk screening, and home renovation. I am deeply thankful for your mastery of so many handyman skills.

While you had some uncomfortable grade school experiences as a boy, it pleases me that you are a respected and effective educator today. Your students are fortunate to spend a year in your classroom learning from you about lessons and life.

What I love best about you Jeff is your love for your wife Gina and your love for your two children and your love for your Mom and me. I enjoy watching your emotion as your children amaze you and make you happy. I am grateful that your childhood faith grew into maturity in your adult years and you treat your relationship with God as integral to who you are and want to be.

Happy Birthday Jeff, my dearly loved son.

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