What are your measures to know that you have arrived?
Today is my favorite daughter’s 34th birthday, and I thought, “I’ve arrived! All my kids are in their 30’s!” Then I paused and thought – really, I did – by the time 7 more years pass then I could say they are in their 40’s!
Which arrival means the most?
Alright. Neither is as important as their day of first arrival. You know, their original birth day.
For Elizabeth, it was this date back in 1981. It was a dawn birth for many (around 6am), but in Alaska the sun had been up for quite a while. Still, her middle name is Dawn for the reason of timing. As you can see below the sun arose around 4:40 am and sat at 11:29 pm – 18 hours of daylight her first day!
“Elizabeth” came because I have simply loved this name for a long time and my bride agreed it was a good name for her! She has shortened it to “Liz” but I simply call her by the name we gave her 34 years ago. Today. Yep. That’s right!
Simple math tells me she’s 34 – but my heart tells me she’s still that little bundle of energy that we enjoyed our first year in Alaska. Jason would be 3 years old in a couple of months and he got to enjoy the night at the grandparents, while we spent the night at Providence Hospital. Though a painful night for Brenda, we were aware that we would enjoy a new experience at our apartment on Boniface…
Checkmate Plaza. 3330 Boniface, Apt 31… Still remember the address!
What a joy those early years in Alaska were. We had made a conscious decision when Jason was born that Brenda would be a “stay-at-home” mom until all kids were in full time school. I believe this was the touch of mom-magic that has blessed both of our kids even today.
Elizabeth, like me, is an introvert. I never thought about the label until she explored the phenomenon of how much we both need time away from people to recoup our energies just to go back into a crowd. She would play with her characters on the porch, or even the bike trail, and be more perfectly aware that she wanted to be by herself than the rest of us could understand.
In this photo she was totally mad at me for wanting to take her picture. It interfered with her “alone” time of play! We have another picture around here where she played on the bike path at a park south of Anchorage, around Bird Creek, and she was not a happy camper when hikers and bikers transitioned her part of the trail!
None of this means that she did not enjoy being around others – only it had to of her own timing and choice! She would crawl after Jason down the hallway as he tried to escape for some of his own “alone time!” She would rally with all the other kids in the neighborhood and church and play until all her strength was gone, but I’m sure it’s because she had stored up the necessary energy to enjoy the time with!
Through the years we have had a special father-daughter relationship, but I’m sure there were times it could have been better. In fact, I know there are times when life, career and church kept me so stinking busy that I missed out on so much. But I have always hoped that she knew I was there…
Elizabeth…. Liz…. Happy Birthday!
(Special note: I tried to upload an audio of her singing “You are My SunShine” with the verse she wrote for me… But it’s a trying time to think it through right now!)