Surrender 41: Happy Birthday Son

Today is my son’s birthday. I wished him a fun filled day this morning. He and his lovely wife both had the day off, and got to spend it together. As I’ve moved through my day, I’ve thought of Nate, allowing memories to rise, one after the other. This boy, now a man, has been such a joy. As a youngster, his antics made me laugh. Now grown, he continues to make me smile, and fills my heart with pride and love. 


It’s been a big year for Nate, although perhaps all years are such. Although Nate and Megan had a quiet private wedding ceremony in November of 2014, last May they publicly proclaimed their love for each other, and joined their families together. What a joyous celebration it was!


In late July Nate, along with his sisters, told his grandfather good bye. I’m so grateful that there was time for the children and their sweeties to visit with Papa Bob at the hospital. Even as his health was failing, and his memory waned, Papa proudly told every nurse who stopped by about his grandkids. Nate was a quiet presence during that challenging time. At the memorial service he joined his dad in carrying his Papa’s casket to its resting place. 

My son is strong, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Although he doesn’t seek attention, he’s a leader of others, by example rather than coercion. He thinks of others, offers help and encouragement, takes responsibility seriously. He accepted a promotion to Sergeant in his police department last fall, after careful consideration. I had the honor of being present as he received his new badge and stripes. 


Nate is not only a wonderful son, he is also a fun and loving brother, being the middle child between two sisters. Nothing brings me greater joy than watching my kids interact as adults. They laugh and chat and have each other’s backs. As the boy, Nate has always been protective of his sisters. But make no mistake! Elissa and Adriel are just as fierce about their brother. 
 Picture collage by Megan, chronicling last night’s birthday celebration.  

And this handsome young man is an exceptional husband to Megan and father to Aubrey, Oliver and Joey. It makes my heart sing to watch my son with his family…the tenderness he expresses to his wife…the playful way he interacts with the kids. He may not be fully aware of how precious the gift of his presence is, however, he is creating memories with those growing children. And more than that, he is impacting those young lives in ways that will stay with them and guide them as they grow into adults. 


I’m very proud of the man my son has matured into. He is loyal, faithful, intuitive, conscientious, just. He’s also witty, fun-loving, creative, musical and artistic. For Halloween last October, me made his storm trooper costume, other than the helmet and boots, which he purchased. He made it because he enjoyed the creative process and the challenge. 

I watched my son last year at the Maple Leaf Parade, tall and straight-backed in his uniform, as he prepared to lead off the event. Unbeknownst to him, I snapped pics as he spoke with the Police Chief and then stood at attention. He knows who he is and he’s comfortable within his own skin. 

I remember as a toddler, Nate sat in his high chair at the dining table, as I went through all of our relatives with Elissa, explaining how everyone was related and connected in our family. He listened intently, a two year old trying to follow along. He brightened up as I finished, and added, “And me’s Nathanael, right?” Yes, son, yes you are. And you are so very good at being Nathanael…Nate. You inspire me. His name means “gift of God”, and he truly is. Happy birthday Son. I love you very much! 


Journey 41: Happy Birthday Nate

Nate honor guard 2e22

Today is my son’s birthday. Nathanael (Nate) is a fine young man…smart, handsome, creative, musical, dedicated to his family, a loving husband and father. He excels at his chosen profession, being a top rate police officer who helps to keep his community safe and trains other officers. He is continually learning so that he can teach others. It has been wonderful to see him achieve what he’s wanted to do ever since he was a young boy. I am very proud of him.

Today, although it was one of his scheduled days off, Nate taught a class for other officers. Which meant, I got to pick up his little daughter from school. Because it was her daddy’s birthday, she quickly had an afterschool snack and then wanted to shop for a card and gifts for her father. Since the boys weren’t with us, Aubrey became the “designated shopper” for the kids, a role she took quite seriously.

Aubrey and I dashed into Target to make her purchases so we could get her home before her daddy arrived. I love shopping with young children. They are so earnest, so heart-centric, in their desire to gift a loved one. I give them free reign on making purchases and rarely have to offer guidance.

Aubrey looked at a couple of cards and then asked where the cards were that played music when you opened them. I pointed her in the right direction and she immediately found the perfect card. It had Spongebob Squarepants on the front, and when the card is opened, the quirky sponge sings Happy Birthday. Aubrey was delighted with her choice, and opened the card often while we continued birthday shopping, giggling every time Spongebob broke into song. It was even more humorous when I remembered that a week ago, I embarrassed this sweet child by singing that very same song for a free meal at McDonald’s!

nates birthday t shirt

Next were gifts. Aubrey very thoughtfully chose a gift card to a restaurant for her dad to use while he’s patrolling and needs a lunch break. And then she headed to the T-Shirt section. Aubrey found the perfect shirt. On the front were Minions, from the Despicable Me movies, with the phrase Ba Ba Ba Ba Banana on it. She loved it. I’m sure her dad did too.

Aubrey signed her name to the singing card and Joey and Oliver added their names as well when we arrived at the house. I know Nate and his family had a very fun evening, celebrating his birthday. And I know Nate celebrated his family, because that’s the type of man that he is. In fact, as I drove home after dropping Aubrey off, I was reminded of a tremendous gift that Nate has given his little girl. It is a story that Aubrey has asked to hear many, many times, and now shares with others. She loves to tell how her daddy hoped for and wished for a daughter, and then she was born and his wish came true. I am so proud of my son for giving this true and enchanting story to his daughter. It is so vital to the heart of a young girl to know that she was wanted and then that she is seen and appreciated for who she is. It is so important to know that being a girl is perfect, in her father’s eyes. That tender story brings such a look of fierce pride to Aubrey’s face that it brings tears to my eyes. Nate’s gift will carry his girl into adulthood, and she will always know that her dad wanted a daughter, and was proud of the girl that she was. I have no doubt that he will be proud of the woman she becomes.

Nate and Aubrey

Nate is also an awesome stepdad to his two boys and his quiet strength and authentic love bolsters their confidence in who they are and will accompany them on their journey to manhood. It is equally as important that boys have someone to look up to, to mirror, and to learn from. They need to be seen as well, and applauded for their accomplishments and taught how to use their awakening strength.

Well done, Son. I am honored to be your mom. You teach me by your example. I love you. Many, many more happy birthdays for you!

Nates family