It is amazing how fast time passes. When a child, I felt that I would never grow up. The space between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed next to an eternity. A school year passed as quickly as a decade. Days drifted by like a stick floating down a lazy, slow moving stream. It just never seemed like the future would ever arrive.
But that was when I was a child. Now, well into adulthood (some would say very well into adulthood!), I can't seem to get time to slow down. Take the 10th day of August.
This is a very special day in my heart and will be to the last day of my life. Thirty-four years ago on this date, one of the most monumental events happened in my life. At one-thirty and one-thirty nine on a sunny, steamy summer afternoon, my first two children were born. Twins!
Lincoln Michael entered the world only nine minutes prior to his brother Joshua Nathaniel. A father can never truly describe the multitude of feelings that he has that very first moment he is introduced to his first offspring. Your mind spins, trying to fathom what has just happened while wanting to leap for joy announcing to the world at the top of your lungs of your great good fortune.
In the moment that I met my first sons, I'm not sure I was consciously thinking of anything. I was at once exhilarated and overwhelmed. Tears welled up in my eyes as I beheld the greatest gift that God can bestow upon a man.
In that moment, the starting gun of time is cocked and ready to be fired. Before I knew it, the boys were home and life would never be the same. From the time they came home to the time they first entered kindergarten now seems like about two weeks. Once they hit grade school, time flew by so quickly that it was hard to even track it on the calendar. Then high school, college and into adulthood. Time sped up and a month passed as but a day or two.
However, all of us who are of a certain age know this. It is not a mystery. We all say the same thing and because of this, this is really not what this piece is all about.
What it is about is two grown men who I cradled in my arms on that hot summer day 34 years ago. It is about the kind of men they have become despite some of the difficulties that life has produced for them. It is about two brothers who, despite the fact that they are twins, couldn't be much more different in personality.
Life has not always been kind to these two. There were severe disappointments in their young lives that were extremely hard to bare. Those times left their scars and each has dealt with these wounds in their own unique ways.
Sadly, a split occurred between us, caused by a man who did not know who he was or what he wanted out of life. Yet, in spite of all of this, or because of this, each has become an example of what a responsible father should be like.
Both are loving fathers who find their life's joy in the midst of their families. Family life means everything to the both of them as can be seen in how they relate to their children, my grandchildren. They have become the type of fathers that I could only dream about. The love they have for their children takes a backseat to no one and bolsters their children with a sense of well-being and safety. They work hard to provide for their broods so that the life their children inherit will be a better life than they had.
I have a sense of pride on this 34th birth anniversary. It is pride not in anything that I did, for I truly did very little. No, the pride I have is in the kind of men they have become despite huge odds against them. The pride I feel is for the way they conduct their lives from one day to the next, always keeping their priorities in focus and their energy fixed on achieving their goals. The pride I feel is the pride of the kind of husbands they are, nurturing their wives and loving them no matter what life may throw at them.
But the reason for my deep sense of pride is the fact that God blessed me with such exemplary and extraordinary children. I didn't always see them for the gift that they were, but now, with a number of years under my belt and a change of heart that took place several years ago, I realize that they were the greatest gift I have ever been privileged to receive including their sister and younger brother.
My birthday wish for them is that they continue to grow in wisdom and love as they pass through the various phases of life. My birthday wish for them is that one day, they will come to see their children as the greatest, most precious gift ever to be found in the universe. My birthday wish for them is to continue to walk the paths they have chosen with a sense of dignity and integrity that will bestow upon them a mantel of peace and extraordinary pride so that, on their childrens' 34th birthday, they may say "Happy Birthday" and have that greeting mean much more than happiness, but a deep sense of peace and comfort in the midst of their families.
You two have given me great joy over the years and you will be in my heart throughout this very special day!
Happy Birthday Lincoln and Josh!