9 Decades of Looking Good

Today my stepdad Walter celebrated a milestone birthday. He crossed the 90th Mile Marker, on his life journey. My mom hosted a party at their church and my sisters and I joined in the merriment.

9 Decades of Looking Good

As Walter enjoyed greeting friends and family in attendance, we three girls served up cake and ice cream and oversaw guests as they moved through a buffet that featured fresh fruits and nuts. I watched my stepdad chatting and smiling or sitting quietly listening with a half smile on his face, and I thought of the Ian McKellen documentary that I saw last weekend.

Ian, who is eleven years younger than my stepfather, has already planned out his memorial service. Rather than finding the experience morbid, Ian proclaimed the evening of planning one of the most fun in his life. He wistfully added that it was the kind of celebration he would enjoy attending and he wondered if he should have a trial run of the memorial so he could be there while he still lived and see everyone’s reactions.

9 Decades of Looking Good

9 Decades of Looking Good

Don’t we all long to hear the stories our friends and family have to share, and see our loved ones gathered together in our honor? One of the great tragedies is that we don’t get to hear how much we are loved and appreciated while we are here to be encouraged and delighted by it.

Tonight’s gathering in no way resembled a funeral, however it was a gathering of people who care about Walter Kane. I’m grateful he got to enjoy being celebrated and that he had the opportunity to receive love and recognition, congratulations and birthday blessings.

My take away from the evening? Celebrate the people in my life…old and young, those who have traveled far and those whose journeys have just begun. How precious it is for us to know that we are valued and appreciated.

Happy 90th birthday, Walter. I love you. How extraordinary to witness your life and learn from your journey. May you enjoy continued good health and the warm companionship of family and friends. Nine decades look good on you!

9 Decades of Looking Good

Happy Birthday Walter

Today is the birthday of my stepdad, Walter. My sisters and nieces and I will take him to lunch this weekend, however I wanted to celebrate him on his actual birthday. 

This quiet man with a sparkle in his eyes and a keen sense of humor married my mom ten years ago, joining a family that is anything but quiet! That can be intimidating, I’m sure, and yet Walter doesn’t fuss about the laughter and chatting and small children underfoot when we gather together. He joins in for a time, and then slips away to watch a movie in the other room. Or he ushers the youngest members of the family into the big backyard where they can play under his supervision. 

He joins us for celebrations and birthday dinners at restaurants and the annual Halloween party that my sister, niece and nephew create. He’s a good sport, and always shows up in costume. We would excuse him and just enjoy Walter being there, having fun, but if he’s going to participate in something, he does so, fully. That’s how he is.

I looked up Walter’s name:

Walter, when you express yourself, you most wish to follow the divine law of love. You have great persistence and hate to give up. You are charming, magnetic and intuitive. Your spirituality has been important to you throughout your life. You are bold, independent, inquisitive and interested in many subjects. You know what you want and why you want it.

You are intuitive, with a deep reservoir of wisdom and knowledge. You have strong leadership abilities and tend to lead by example. You look for ways to help others, provide service to others, and you seek to find purpose and meaning for your life. You give to others and then sometimes seek solitude to replenish your energy. You look for opportunities to continue learning. 

I see my stepdad in those words. I know his story. His life hasn’t been an easy one. And yet he perseveres, guided by his spirituality and innate wisdom. He’s always curious, interested in many topics, and he is a giving man, especially of his time. He selflessly helps others, volunteering at the hospital, and serving on the military honor guard at the funerals of veterans. 

He inspires me, more than he knows. Today, Walter is 88 years old, and he is the most fit and active octogenarian I know. He and my mother have traveled the world in the last ten years, because he loves her, and she loves to visit new places. He gives me hope that I too still have plenty of time to explore the globe. And he encourages me, by his example, to live a healthy, full on life. 

Happy birthday, Walter! May you have many more blessed years. I love you!