I turn 43 on March 8th, in two days, and my 13 year old asked me “why I liked getting older”. He thinks “old” people are supposed to dread their birthdays. In a way he isn’t wrong because as a child I can remember many women in my life dreading the thought of another year gone.
However, at the very young age of 17 I lost my best friend and Uncle who was only 29 years old. Steve was such a life force that everyone knew when he walked in a room. He was FUN and CRAZY. We always described him as being “WIDE OPEN”. He was so full of life and vigor that now it’s hard to try and picture what he would have been like as an older man. It makes me think God made him the way He did because He knew He would want him back sooner than most.
Steve wasn’t a Saint. He was human and he had flaws. He was always getting into fights, he dated a ton of young ladies but only one held his heart, he had a weakness for Budweiser and always went past a buzz. But he would spin my Nanny over his shoulder and run from her feisty chihuahua Cricket in her big front yard while singing “running with the devil”. He would play football and frisbee with us kids and hide Easter eggs in insane places (think pine trees and exhaust pipes). He never wore clothes unless he was going on a date. It was always what you see in the picture…shorts and no shirt.
So when he passed exactly one month before I turned 17 it left such a void in my heart. He was the first and the closest person to me that I had ever lost. As sad as I was and still am I feel so blessed to have known him. And because of him I treasure every year I get older.
It started when I was 29 and realized just how young he truly was. Most people moan about turning 30 but for me it felt like a milestone. I had been blessed in a way that Steve hadn’t been. It’s the same reason why I named my oldest Steven because Steve never got to be a father and my Steven was the biggest light to enter our lives since Steve had left it so it felt right. My Nanny loved that I did that and she loved her great grandson even more than me which was justice for my sister and all my cousins. She wasn’t good at hiding her favoritism.
Today we talk about Steve and we tell his stories so much that my kids probably think they knew him. That’s just how big his light was and still is. He would have loved my boys and they would have loved him. Steven is the sweetest guy I know and loves his Mama and Jake is all about hunting, fishing, and building stuff.
Sometimes I wish one of his many girlfriends would show up with his kid so that a real part of him would still be in this world but it’s never happened. So I cherish my many memories of my time with him and I celebrate every single birthday I have with joy for the year that has passed (no matter how difficult) and a welcoming heart for the possibility of another year that I have with those I love.
So on March 8th I will celebrate and enjoy my day. I will thank God for another year of getting older. I will remember my Uncle, my best friend, the older brother I never had. I will not moan and groan about turning 43 because I know not everyone gets to. 💜