Today is my birthday – and it is absolutely perfect! I can honestly say that I am blessed beyond belief. At one time, I would have said it would have been a perfect day IF the kids were home and Dad was here to celebrate with us. Not that I wouldn’t love for that to be true, but I realize how incredibly selfish that statement is. I’m spending the day with Bill and Mom, Piper and Champ. I’ve already heard from Beth and Walt, and received an overwhelming and humbling amount of wishes from friends on social media of various sorts and cards. I know that my Dad is celebrating with us in heaven – and in a much happier, healthier state than if he were still here. I know that if they kids were here, they wouldn’t be doing what they love and thriving. Seeing them succeed, watching the amazing people they are and how they continue to blossom – I could ask for no better gift. Being with Mom, seeing how she is celebrating life every single day and conquering challenges – I am graced with the gift of love and inspiration. My brother gifts me with lessons of a generous spirit, and his gift for creativity and imagination.
Bill – for the next little while, I am being caregiver/nurse. He is one of my biggest, bestest gifts. Yesterday, he had surgery on his Achilles tendon and a rather ugly heel spur. For the next month or so, he can’t put any weight on his right foot. He is being a model patient right now – and I imagine it is extremely hard. This guy isn’t used to inactivity. He did this so we can get out and explore like we want to – and he can do it pain-free. He has always told me that his goal in life is to make me happy. Younger me thought for a while that it was mostly lip service. I learned long ago that it wasn’t. He truly meant it, and he works at it every day. We sold our airplane this past winter. It was a sad day in the Dumont house. Since then, there has been a hole that never filled in. Sometimes, you can remove things from your life, and the hole will close over and new things will grow to take it’s place. This didn’t happen. A couple weeks ago, Bill set up an appointment to get his BFR (pilot’s license recurrent). While doing so, he learned of a plane for sale. He has flown this plane in the past, so was familiar with it. Also, he knows the owner and his ethic for maintaining his aircraft. Apparently the plane had earned the nickname “23 Ugly”. The last three identifiers of the tail number is 23U. In the phonetic alphabet, it is 23 Uniform. We talked about the plane, looked it over a couple times and pondered the possibilities. In the meantime, another airplane at a local airport was discovered to be for sale as well. We checked it out and knew that it wasn’t a good fit for us. About that time, Bill asked me what I wanted for my birthday – and I countered with asking him what he wanted for Father’s Day. He tossed out a couple things, and I told him I wanted 23U. He flew the plane again and became recurrent. That was an early birthday present for me. You couldn’t mistake the feeling or difference in attitude. I was missing having an airplane as well. For the longest time, (for me) it was flying that was the attraction. For the past couple years, the fascination is now in tinkering with the plane – making improvements, doing maintenance, that sort of thing. Anyway, I told him again that I wanted the plane, and even wrote a welcome note on our whiteboard in the hangar. Last week, we finalized the offer with the plane’s owner.
We haven’t officially named the plane yet, but I told Bill it will be called 23 Unicorn and never again known as 23 Ugly. Eventually we’ll find a proper name for the magnificent bird. We’ve both decided that our family is complete again. Airplanes are the reason we are together – how we met – and our lives have pretty much revolved around aviation. I can’t begin to express the depth of emotion at seeing Bill’s reaction to having an airplane again. This particular gift is priceless and fills me with great joy. He gifted me with a shirt and hat to celebrate today.
Beth – we are so alike in many ways. She knows what is going on in my mind without the need for me to express it. Scares me. I stand in awe of her confidence, her energy, her compassion, and her passion for people. This woman has skills! I watch her and think, WOW! Is she really my daughter? I can see so much of Bill in her personality as well – yet she is uniquely Beth. She ran miles to celebrate my birthday today – ran for me so I wouldn’t have to 😊. That is more than “just a run”. The gift of time and energy, knowing you’re thought of and loved – that is truly a treasure. The other thing this child of mine does is celebrate randomly. It is not uncommon to receive a box in the mail with treats and gifts not in conjunction with a holiday. She does it “just because”, and brushes it off. Again, the gift of caring and loving, time and energy is precious. She gave me the gift of motherhood, thriving and blossoming in spite of being the test model.
Walt – He is also a blend of our personalities, especially Bill, and like Beth – uniquely Walt. I appreciate his calls to check in with us and really enjoy listening to him discuss planes, bikes, and automobiles with Bill. Walt is quietly achieving and planning his future thoughtfully. I sit back in amazement and gratitude (as I also do with Beth) with the realization that we had the blessing of raising these amazing people. He is generous with his time, his love, and his knowledge. Walt is an encourager, compassionate, and persistent. He gave me the opportunity to refine my motherhood skills as the second edition.
I am blessed with many friends and grateful for each and every one of them. Their presence adds richness and dimension to my life. My world is filled with joy, love, friends, challenges, and so very many blessings. This is grace, undeserved and yet richly showered upon me. And I know, without a doubt, that I can easily say “Thank you, God, I know this is you. This is your visible presence in my life!”