Celebrating My Birthday
Celebrating My Birthday
September 16th, 2011. Today, I’m celebrating my birthday today. I have always maintained that it wasn’t the landmark birth days that were depressing, it was the ones that followed. My 50th birthday didn’t bother me as much as my 51st. I know people say that you’re only as old as you feel or it’s only a number but there is a significance to growing older. Since my 30th birthday, I’ve never really enjoyed celebrating my birthday.
When I was young I wanted to be among other things a West Pointer, an astronaut and a lawyer. I have been none of those things. Like most childhood dreams I lost my desire to be those people by the time I was 22. Instead, I joined my father’s display business and made a decent living in a stressful business.
I am the oldest in my family so I had to lead the way in many things. I was the first to spend celebrating my birthday. I was the first to graduate from college. I was the first to be married. The first to have a child, our daughter Elizabeth. She was the only grandchild that my mother ever knew. She died when Liz was about 5. I am profoundly grateful to the Almighty that my mother had that enjoyment, knowing that with a grandchild she was immortal. My mother’s father had died while I was in the womb but she was able to tell him that his oldest child was pregnant. “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away”, says the Book of Job.
My wife, Sandy, who is also my best friend has tolerated me for over 34 years through all of those birthdays. I’m not the easiest person to live with sometimes. I’ve gotten more impatient as I’ve grown older. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in this life but one of the best things that I’ve ever done was marry Sandy. She sat by my bedside wondering if she was going to be a widow with a young child when I had a serious heart attack at 38. She did it again when I had bypass surgery at 52. I am forever grateful for her love. I thank God that I’m still here celebrating my birthday.
Together, we’ve raised a wonderful daughter who loves doing her work as an attorney. My late mother used to say to us when we argued with her, “What are you, a Philadelphia lawyer?’ Well, Elizabeth is a Philadelphia lawyer but we knew that in about the 4th grade.
In the last year I’ve done something that I probably should have done years ago: I’ve begun to write. I always was a good writer. I consistently received high marks on research papers in high school and college but once life intervened I stopped writing. Now I write on politics, the Civil War and assorted other subjects. I write for the pleasure of writing. It would be nice to make some money doing it but right now I’m writing because I enjoy the creativity of the “doing”.
I live in central Virginia, the Old Dominion, battleground of the Civil War, where our country was tested. The land is drenched with the blood of patriots North and South who fought for something that they believed in with their entire beings. I am writing an eBook about the struggle for the Union on the battlefields of Virginia. I have had the opportunity to visits the sites where men fought to the death for their beliefs. It’s a humbling experience.
So today, I’ll write some more history and commentary and celebrate that I’m still here celebrating my birthday.