Since my Mom is celebrating her birthday in a different time zone this year, I wanted to be sure this was awaiting her when she wakes up.
Happy 71st birthday. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating your 70th and marveling at all life held. I now think back and realize your 70th year was not all we had hoped or imagined. I hope that celebrating your birthday in Normandy or Rome might make it a highlight, and I am sure the day will hold some memories that of course could never be made here at home.
I reflect often on your story and all it holds as a child born in Friesland, Netherlands who immigrated at 10 who navigated a new world in very real ways. As a high school student you valued Christian Education enough to pay your own way, you then venture to Calvin from Sussex New Jersey. I am thankful for the meeting my father and the journey of a young couple who forged new paths together in ministry, community and family. I reflect on your story and I admire your courage and strength. I am grateful for your good health and continued desire to live life fully. Your commitment to be kind to yourself and your generous investment in others is just part of the reason I love and admire you
I am grateful for your understanding of your own heart and what you need to live life honestly and well. I am grateful for our friendship and the many adventures we can share together, both in travel and right at home. Adventures that sometimes require honest conversation, shared tears, deep laughter and an understanding of who we both are, in our similarities and our differences.
You are a great Beppe and as they often remind you, you are stylish and hip. Thank you for wanting to know and love your grandchildren as individuals who love lucky charms, diet coke, fruit smoothies and cherry tomatoes. Thank you for loving them through all ages of their lives, when they are young and talkative and when they are teens and not so talkative.
And it wouldn’t be an honest letter to you without naming the deep pain of the last year in Len’s death. I am not sure there is anything more painful than the loss of a child. I hope and pray you will never experience that depth of pain again. Your grief journey has been deep, lonely at times, insightful in understanding the deep impact of loss in your life and in understanding others, and honest. I will never forget your words to us shortly after Len’s death. “I love you more than you will ever know because I have learned I loved Len more than I ever knew.”
I love you Mom and hope this year will bring you many things in life to celebrate, remember, honor, share, and delight in.
I pray comfort will continue to bring you peace….
I pray love will continue to bring you joy….
I pray rest will continue to renew your energy…
I pray that in every day you will know you are deeply loved and sincerely liked by many!
Happy Birthday Mom,