Today, August 3rd, is my first son's 31st birthday. Happy birthday, Dan!
I have seen so many changes in Dan's life and circumstances in the past year. He has graduated from seminary with a Master of Divinity degree, been ordained, graduated from Chaplain Officer's Basic Course, taken US Army oath of office. And if that's not enough, he's met and become engaged to the love of his life, Jennifer.
It's amazing to me that the little 7 lb 11 oz baby I held for the first time in the afternoon of August 3, 1975, (round red face, lots of dark hair, long, long eyelashes) has grown into the wonderful man he is--a military chaplain dedicated to bringing hope, help, comfort and understanding to American men and women around the world, a thoughtful son, a kind older brother who always takes time to listen to his siblings' conversations, a good friend to many people. I think he's going to be a great husband and (maybe) father.
Some of my favorite memories of Dan are from the early years in Indonesia--his leading Deb out in to the jungle to play and then "protecting" her when they got lost, his pulling Mike out of the stream behind the bush house in Meyerga, his shining face when he said, "Mom, today is Michael's first Christmas!", his thoughtful birthday gift to me--a rat trap (well, we really did need one!), his love of stories about him, Mouse and Joey that John made up every bedtime.
Dan has always loved to read. I taught him phonics at age 5, and he has never looked back (Christmas break his first grade year, he pulled Lord of the Rings off the shelf and "read" the whole first volume in one day). Now, when he moves from Whittier the end of this month, he'll pack How Many boxes of books?!
So, happy birthday, Dan, may God give you many more years to serve Him and make your parents even more proud of you than we are today!