Happy Birthday Fox

Today the last two members of my family both celebrated birthdays. Among my large family, this is the only occurrence of shared birthdays, and interestingly, they happened at the end of the year, creating a big finish. So I can focus on each person, I’m writing two blog posts today. 

This is the birthday post for my nephew Fox. 

Fox, center of pic. 

Today my brother’s younger son entered his teens. This is a big birthday, the milestone marking the leaving behind of childhood and the approach of adulthood. As all of us who have lived through these years know, being a teenager can be a turbulent time, full of changes and realizations, love and angst, questions and figuring things out. 

I think this young man can handle the journey ahead, and handle it beautifully. 

I looked up Fox’s name. 

“Fox, you are kind, home-loving, hospitable and friendly. Since you take responsibility well, you are a good organizer of events, social affairs and life itself. Compassion for others is an outstanding trait that you possess. In fact, you have a heart full of love, which will guide you in connecting with and helping others.  Your compassion, paired with creativity, might lead you toward being an artist, a musician, an actor, a teacher or a nurse. 

Your desires can sometimes be contradictory. You are practical, yet idealistic and intuitive; capable of selfless devotion to someone you love, yet look to receive payback. You are honest, methodical and believe in law, system and order. You are making a difference in the world, just by being you. 

I don’t get to spend much time with my nephew. But I know the words above ring true for Fox. He is compassionate and has a heart full of love, which is especially evident when he is with his family. Like many kids of his generation, he lives harmoniously in a big blended family, spending time with both sets of parents and his brothers and sister, fulfilling his role as son, younger brother, older brother and grandson. 

Fox is incredibly intelligent, doing well in school. Combine that intelligence with his compassion toward others and his creative and intuitive abilities and there are endless possibilities and opportunities ahead for this young man. That is the great beauty of being a teen. There is time to explore many paths to see which one feels right, which one brings joy and a sense of purpose. 

Fox, may you enjoy the coming years as you make important decisions about schooling, your career and your life. Have fun. Love. Play. Engage in life fully. You truly are making a difference in the world, just by being who you are. 

And know I am watching you and cheering for you, and journeying alongside. Happy birthday, Fox. I love you! 

Photo by his mom, Stephany Christensen. 

Christmas Shopping with Aubrey

Today it was Aubrey’s turn for shopping with Yaya. My only granddaughter had been patiently waiting all week for her opportunity to share a meal together and shop for her family. Keeping an eye on developing winter weather, I picked Aubrey up a bit earlier than planned and off we went. 

For our lunch, Aubrey selected one of her favorite restaurants, Golden Corral. This little old soul loves a good buffet! All her favorites were offered this afternoon…ham, fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, and grapes. I was able to enjoy a plate of fresh raw veggies followed by a plain baked potato and steamed Brussels sprouts and carrots. No trip through the buffet is complete, for Aubrey, without visiting the chocolate fountain. She finished her meal with several marshmallows dipped in the smooth liquid chocolate. 

I love Aubrey’s heart for others. She likes to leave a personal note to our waitress, along with a generous tip 

As we left the restaurant, tiny snowflakes were falling, mixed with rain that was bordering on freezing. I don’t like to rush my grandchildren during these special outings. However, as the weather deteriorated, I knew we were going to have to shop quickly. I did not want to risk being in a car accident with Aubrey on board. We asked for Divine protection as we carefully drove to Toys R Us. 

Aubrey understood the situation, and she was up to the challenge. She did a remarkable job of selecting great gifts at two different stores, in record time. Like Oliver and Joey, she was thoughtful as she hunted for the perfect gifts, and enjoyed imagining the reactions of the recipients of her presents. As she does when she is choosing items for herself, Aubrey employs a technique we call, “does this ring my bell”, when she buys for others. She holds the object. And then passes on it or keeps it. Although she may not understand why she does this simple test, she is checking, energetically, to see if the item brings her joy, or when shopping for others, will they experience joy. I love how aware she is. 

At my house, Aubrey wrapped gifts. We had to postpone wrapping a gift for her cousin/best friend, London. And wait on doing another project. I’ll make up for the shortened time, and allow this sweet girl to finish up, one afternoon next week when the weather is better. After hamming it up for a photo, we loaded gifts into the car and set out again into the freezing rain and cold wind. 

I am grateful to Greg for driving us to Carthage. The sidewalks, parking lots and roads were becoming slick as the drizzle froze into thin sheets of ice. The windshield wanted to ice up too. We safely delivered Aubrey and made a slow and careful return trip to Joplin. I am grateful, always, for Divine protection. 

I managed to get one selfie of Aubrey and me, in the car. She snapped the pic for me. I really appreciated her good attitude this afternoon and her ability to shift and go with the flow. She didn’t complain once about having to rush our time together. Rather, she graciously adapted. And made the most of the time we did have. 

I am so blessed with the grandchildren I have. Rain or shine, good or bad weather, expected or unexpected circumstances…it is so amazing to journey with them.