Tonight will be the biggest celebration of the year. I know we are all going to pass the wine glass and toast you individually, but I wanted to write you a love letter. Happy twentieth birthday, Andre! Birthdays are about gift giving and celebrations of life. Here’s the thing, Dre: you are the gift. You are the gift to all of us, and that is the reason we love to celebrate your birthday.
You are the gift of presence, and I appreciate the many moments of “life-pause” when I can breathe and be with you in silent affirmation that life is good and so worth living. Thanks for being baby number two and letting Antonia be baby one. Yes, she was nearly three when we told everyone we were expecting you. She disagreed: “I am the baby . . . there will be no more babies; we are not having a baby.” That is when we told her she was baby number one. I love how you introduce yourself as, “Baby numba two.” You gave us the gifts of humility, agreeability, and kindness, right from the beginning.
Happy twentieth birthday, Andre! This morning when I was telling you your birth story, I loved how you said, “I ‘member that” when I told you about being born underwater. What you do not know is that Dad and I had a yucky fight right before my labor. Dad commented today how we should have known back then: it was because a saint was coming into our lives, a soul who would change all of us. Like, if you had been there when we had that fight it would have been over before it progressed because you would have been quick to say, “Okay, come on guys, stop it . . . Daaad!!’ (I love how you always stand up for me; good man, Dre). You are the gift of peace and reconciliation.
You are the gift of truth, how much we have all learned over twenty years. And thanks for letting me know that our teaching on the sacrament of marriage was insufficient. Remember when Samuel came to me (age twelve) and asked me to leave you to him in our will? I asked him what if his wife did not want to take care of you? He thought and thought. That’s when he said, “It’s okay, Mom; I will get a different wife.”
Here we are today, Andre. Thanks for all the loads of laundry you have folded, and it is fine that you told me, “I can notta do that, Mom” when I suggested you start putting it away as well. I get that, Dre; I do not like putting it away either. Thanks for your friendship. Thanks for dancing with me at weddings, asking me, “U kay?” when I am quiet; for being the healing balm and magnet of love for each and all, especially in our woundedness. Who knew? Your birthday was and is the day God made visibly present his eternal and almighty love. Happy twentieth birthday, Andre, you always-giving gift of beauty.
Thank you for your willingness to incarnate your very real, very beautiful walk of motherhood – this post is like a “behind the scenes” snapshot of your heart and how God has shaped you through the gift of Andre in your life and in your family as a whole. I love how you say “you are the gift of presence” . . . priceless!
Hi Jolly, Thank you so much for your encouragement! God Bless, Gail
Absolutely beautiful – thanks for sharing this glimpse into the many different gifts of motherhood!