The family had a wonderful evening last night. With our dear friends, Johnny and BJ Browder, and Ma, we went to the oldest and certainly one of the best Italian restaurants in Columbia, Villa Tronco, to celebrate several of the children's birthdays. It was a fantastic night. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was very Old World (even in the heart of Dixie), and being able to spend the evening with great friends, was, well...priceless.
As it turned out, we were celebrating several birthdays that were all bunched together. But with Ma, BJ, and Johnny there, we also wanted to celebrate several that had been past and a couple about to come up. But at the same time, I wanted each of the children to feel special, and honored, and to know how very much loved and cherished they are.
And so, to be able to shine the spotlight on them individually, I took a few moments in between the great dinner and the out of this world cheesecake dessert, to offer the following tributes to them:
To Richard, the newest addition to our family:
You have taught all of us the fine art of cuddling and you will be a man of great affection. Our prayer for you, as you are about to turn five is that your sixth year is even better than your last one. Happy Birthday!
Your sweet nature is matched only by your strength. As you have now turned seven you are starting your school work in earnest, and our prayer for you is that your mind and spirit grow strong with your body to be a mighty man of God. Happy Birthday!
With your ninth birthday coming up in one month, we appreciate the incredibly bright and articulate young man you are, and celebrate the great strides you are making with your studies. Long before we had the family website, you developed the art of the post to give your readers an insight into our family's life. Happy Birthday!
You are in your eleventh year, and we celebrate and praise God for the healing that is yours. We love you and can't wait to walk together and have our first chat. Happy Birthday!
You are in your thirteenth year, and becoming a fine young man. Your handsome smile and wit make a very charming and winsome combination that will serve you well as you become a man. Happy Birthday!
Your quiet nature belies a depth of insight and wisdom that is well beyond your years. Your thoughtfulness and strength of purpose speak well of the man you are becoming. Happy Birthday!
Your name was no doubt ordained by God, as there is no one else that exemplifies grace more than you. Your grace, humor, and diligence, combined with your natural beauty speaks well of the wife and keeper-at-home that you will become. Happy Birthday!
You have been with us the longest. And as the eldest you have assumed responsibilities well ahead of your years. This maturity, combined with your strength and intellect, will no doubt serve you well in any endeavor you pursue, as you have now become a man. And I'm proud to call you my son. Happy Birthday!
As I said, it was a great night. And one that will always be remembered.