The Birthday Gifts Are You

The Birthday Well Wishes on Facebook are amazing. This past year has been a whirlwind…and quite the learning experience. I just know I’m getting wiser with every second. I can’t wait to see what this next 49th year will teach me about life, parenting, love and grace.

Here are the birthday gifts I am most grateful for: my husband (Scott), my children (Max, Chloe, Charlie and Gigi), my parents, my brothers and their families, my parents in-law, my brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and their families, my dogs (Simone, the bulldog and Daffodil, the terrier mutt), my health… and of course, MY FRIENDS, you dear people. So many of you have shown such deep tenderness in seeing Scott and me through the trying times we’ve had as parents these past few months.

There was the friend who left her workday to help me get a grip when some of the toughest moments were first occurring during Max’s runaway. There was the friend who left many workdays in a row and held me again and again when I was shaken to the core by what Max’s running away from me and our family might mean, and sometimes just sitting in a room quietly with this friend (no words necessary) was all I needed to carry on with hope instead of cold fear.There was the friend who checked in repeatedly by text and phone, and every time he did so, reminded me to be gentle with myself and my husband. There were the many, many friends who heard the Max story over and over because they love Max and they love me and so they listened endlessly, patiently, quietly. Listening quietly…I’ve been learning the value of it these past few months because God knows I’m a talker and sometimes I forget to listen…but you’ve been teaching me how to listen better, friends, just by all of YOUR listening.

To all of you dear friends who continue to reach out to me and ask — “Hey, is everything okay? How’s Max doing?”– here’s what I need to tell you….

Max is doing well right now. He’s back in California. Today, was the first day of his senior year at Saratoga High School. Yay! Reaching this first day of school has not been without some bumps. But along with those bumps, our family has been graced with some truly amazing, honest to God, real life angels, or “Grace Givers” as I like to call them…our former landlord from our rental home in Cali who tried to put some things in play for Max right away when he first arrived, a close family friend who happened to be on the West Coast for other personal reasons and took the time to meet up with Max, brought him out to dinner for a solid meal, talked with him and listened closely with a parental but non-judgmental ear, and then proceeded to bring Max shopping to purchase a heavy-duty sleeping bag in case there were any more nights camping out in the Saratoga apricot orchards.

Finally, we’ve been graced with some “parenting partners,” amazing souls who have been the biggest Grace Givers of all for Max, Scott and me: Max’s 8th grade teacher from Redwood Middle School and her husband and their two children.They did not hesitate to take Max in so that he could better and more safely land on his feet before truly starting out on his own. They have graciously said to Max, “We’re here. We’ll help.” And then with open hearts, they have gracefully asked, ” What do you need?”

So my birthday…this start of 49…is like none other. I am just so grateful for it and for all these gifts, you glorious Grace Givers whom I love. Happy Birthday to me!

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