I am thinking of two years ago when five beautiful people, five loving children, took the time out of their busy schedules to celebrate my 70th birthday. If you are wondering why it took me almost two years to write, you should know that I always meant to write about my gratitude and heart felt thanks. Considering the events of this past year, I believe it is time to write before time is up. That sounds so dramatic. Time is only a subjective measurement. There will always be “time” to do things, but since I am watching the terrible events in Washington D. C. with the failed attempt at insurrection and simultaneously watching the terrible and fatal corona virus infections spreading across the nation and the world, I realize that my small voice can whisper.

Now I know how important that special day really is. Jackie, first born, organized the surprise for all of her siblings to meet at our house on the Sunday after my birthday . She selected the date, a week after my birth date, to create a surprise for me. She also learned that Mary Jane would be in Knoxville at that time to attend a friend’s wedding. I understand that Michael purchased airline tickets to fly into Knoxville for the celebration. So two children flew in from Seattle. Jackie drove 10 hours from Pennsylvania and surprised me on Sunday morning. Susan organized her schedule to arrive at the house at the same time. I am not sure how she did that! Erich was overseas in Greece for business and changed his return to trip to add to the surprise. And Fred, unbeknownst to me, kept the secret. Every once in a while he would ask about Mary Jane’s arrival time in Knoxville. He would ask me if i had talked to Mike. I had told everyone that i didn’t require anything special on this year’s birthday. Isn’t that funny!

The following is a description of how it all happened on that day. Jackie drove to Knoxville with birthday surprises. Mary Jane was there with Susan; we were laughing and talking. After taking some photos, I turned around and couldn’t believe my eyes! Michael was standing in the family room smiling. I realized then, why Jackie wanted to wait a while to take some photos, She was waiting for Michael to get here. Truly magical!

I was so happy, I cried tears of joy, and felt like I was in a wonderful dream world. Michael spent the night at the house. We spent time talking and laughing and then driving to the breakfast party they had planned. When I walked into the First Watch Restaurant, I could hardly believe what I was seeing: All five children, Will and Susan, Erich and Shannon, Michael, Jackie, Mary Jane. We stayed a long while. It was so fun for all of us.

My most precious people. Part of me. Part of all of us. The bond that is everlasting. As Michael so poetically tells me: “We are all one, like waves in the ocean.” My interpretation is like the waves coming and going, splashing and lifting up, gently rolling in and out with the tide of life.

Grateful heart, indeed. Thank you, each of you for giving me purpose, giving me worth. For so long I’ve been chasing that dream. The dream is coming true.

Love you all,