On this, the occasion of my 55th birthday, I thought I would give a little shout out to the people I love the most, the members of my immediate family. What inspired me to write this is the great time I had hanging out with them on Sunday.
My two sons, Jeff and Travis, work different shifts than Holly and I, so in order to get together for any kind of birthday celebration, we usually have to get together on either the weekend before or the weekend after the actual date. I completely understand this situation because I have worked both 2nd shift, which Travis works, and 3rd shift, which Jeff works. I was just glad we were able to get together.
The four of us, along with Holly’s sister Kelly, started the day at the Blue Dog Tavern, which, me being the birthday boy, was my choice, and then moved over to the Monarch, a little pub across the street. I had a great time having a few drinks and food with my boys, who, when they get together, can be absolutely hilarious. They have the ability to give each other crap, while not taking any of the back and forth too seriously. Sports, politics, religion, relationships, it was all up for discussion on Sunday. And as I am sitting there, a realization crosses my mind. We’re going to be okay. We have made it to the other side and we are going to be okay.
You see, the last seven years for my family have been about as trying a time as a family can get. In the last seven years, Holly and I had a serious marital crisis, I was diagnosed with cancer, and then had surgery, radiation, hormone treatments and 3 different recurrences. Holly lost her job and started a brand new job at Farmers, which she hated. Our boys have seen multiple jobs and girlfriends come and go. Jeff got a job in Colorado, which didn’t work out. A week after he was home, Travis had a serious car accident driving for the Kent County Road Commission, that involved Aero-Med, and a lot of rehab. There were failed and incomplete college classes, a beloved father and grandfather that eventually died from Alzheimer’s disease, and a beloved mother and grandmother diagnosed with dementia. And our beloved dog, Brady, the family mascot, also crossed the bridge into the doggy hereafter.
Whew. I could take on each of these topics and probably come up with a chapter or two for each one, but I really don’t feel like reliving all that. And that’s not everything. It’s the cliff notes version. Let’s just say it has been quite a journey.
But here’s the thing. Right now, I think as a family we are as strong as we ever have been. All the adversity, all the trials and tribulations have made us all stronger. Jeff is doing well and making strides toward a career where he is working now. And I can confidently say that his girlfriend Kristina is the love of his life. And we love her, too. Travis is working at a job that he sees as an opportunity for growth, and is doing well there. I am very proud of both of them.
Holly is still working at Farmers, but now has a job she likes, and is looking at starting her own agency. And, even after being married to me for 29 years, and probably against her better judgement, she is still in love with me. And I am still very much in love with her.
I know there are no guarantees when it comes to life, that somehow the next seven years could be even more of a trial than the last seven. But I do know this. The four of us will do it together. Or the five of us. Or 6. Or more depending on grandchildren. We will have each other’s back. We will be there to pick each other up when one of us stumbles. I’m sure there will be heartaches and fights and maybe even a car crash or two.(Wow, I hope not. I do not need to get one of those calls ever again in my life.) But if we can get through the last seven years and come out the other side laughing and making jokes about each other’s foibles and frailties, and still love each other the way that we do, I think we’re going to be okay.
Whatever happens, we’re going to be okay.
Thanks for reading.