"A good laugh is sunshine in a house."
~William Makepeace Thackeray
We were already running late to church this morning when we spotted him, a little dirty-white fluff of a dog at the top of our dirt road near the highway.
I knew before he asked that Daniel would want to get out and check on him, so I bit my tongue about being late and gave thanks that my middle child, who turned 25 today, is such a caring, thoughtful, compassionate human being.
I've been lucky to spend a lot of time with him this past year, hanging out watching movies here at home, and hitting the road to visit my parents, where I watched him and his brother shave my daddy's grizzled face and clean his dentures and hold my mama's hand.
This has been a tough year in many ways, and having Daniel here at the house these past few months has lightened my heart. Besides always being eager to help with dog-care, laundry, cooking, or whatever we need, he makes me laugh, listens to my rants, offers encouragement and support, gives wise advice and a shoulder to cry on.
He hasn't just become an adult...he's now a friend. His birthday is one of the best gifts I've ever received.
I could go on and on and on about his awesomeness, but I've written about it before more eloquently than I can today (here and here and here and here and here and here) and right now I need to go finish cleaning up the kitchen.
In honor of his birthday, I made some of his favorite foods: Cyclops Cookies and Jim's Chicken Tenders (from a recipe given to us by our friend Jim, of course.)
Consequently, every surface in my kitchen is covered in grease and flour. Daniel's totally worth it, though.
Oh, by the way, the puppy was excited to see Daniel at first, but then got scared and ran to the house closest to the road. We're hoping that's where he lives. We went on to church (really, really late!) and then kept our eyes open as we drove back home afterward.
No sign of the little guy. I hope he's okay and we scared him from straying close to the highway again.
My prayer today is that today is the beginning of a wonderful year for you, Daniel...that all of your thoughtfulness is returned to you times ten. May you have clear paths and bright skies, and no matter what this year brings, I hope you continue to
"Be silly. Be honest. Be kind."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
P.S. Happy birthday wishes to my sweet sister-in-law Kim, my young cousins Ashley, Kayce and Kayce's daughter, Tayvie, and my inspirational South African friend Pete!