I thought of it yesterday morning, but my brain is too busy these days. There's too much traffic, too much coming and going. Or maybe as I get older I just can't handle this much activity. At any rate, the thought was lost in the crowd.
It fought its way back through the throngs, re-appearing front and center around 9pm. I spotted it and yelled at Tom, "Hey, it's John's birthday! You need to call him!" But he was busy painting and I was busy writing. Once again, that poor little thought was shoved out of sight.
It was 11pm, way past bedtime. The day was behind me; I was already thinking of the next when I glanced at the calendar, and there it was, that tenacious little thought, waving its arms, jumping around, practically screaming to get my attention. And finally it sunk in ...oh, my gosh! It's not just John's birthday...it's his 40th birthday!
So what that it was after 11pm here and that we had to start a new day in less than 6 hours...it was only 9pm in Phoenix and it was Johnny's 40th birthday! Of course we called to let him know we remembered!
Ah, Little Johnny, the baby brother of my husband's tribe of nine boys. He's a Phoenix policeman now, a hero who coaxed a confession from a murderer, a father of three, godfather to my baby...but to me he'll also always be that angel-faced tow-headed little boy that made me feel so welcome the first time I met the family. Even back then he was a soft-spoken, sincerely compassionate sweetheart - and you can't say that about many 12-year-old little boys.
How could he be 40? But then, how could I be 50...almost 51? Where did the time go? I suppose it just slipped away, lost in the crowd of our busy lives, days filled with babies, painting, writing...days too busy to stop and take notice of the day itself.
I know better than to swear up and down that, starting this minute, I'm going to slow down, take notice and focus more keenly on the details. Who would I be kidding? I'll just settle for being glad that that tough little thought of mine kept fighting back through all of the warring 'need-to's' and 'want-to's' in my consciousness yesterday, so we could say "Happy 40th birthday, Johnny!" on time and (practically) in person.
Johnny then and now, with a quick stop in-between...
This was in 1982, my first trip to Maryland to meet everyone. John skipped school to join Tom, his brother Russ and me on a trip to the Civil War battleground at Antietam.
"Just Married" to the love of his life, Yadira, in Huatabampo, Mexico, 1998. It was a beautiful wedding and a trip I'll never forget!
Fast forward eleven years and three kids to our Shallue reunion in Florida. I'm awed when I watch these two "kids" take care of their own three, including one with special needs, with so much love and efficiency.