Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jamie.

James Andrew Alter turned forty today. I'm having a hard time with this. He's my second son, third child. Three now have hit the forty mark. I know all parents feel this way, but it seems only yesterday he was dragging a cat by the tail and saying, "This is muh pet." That cat remained "Muh Pet" the rest of her life and when she once scratched him, I asked, "What did you do to Muh Pet?" Reply: "I hammered her." HIs birthday has set me to thinking about incidents and sayings from all my child-rearing years, with all four children. Happy as I am with my life now, I sometimes long for those days.Yes, they were hectic and I was exhausted most of the time, but we were all five happy people.
When I said by email to Jamie today that I carry a lot of happy memories, he replied that he had a lot of his own. We'll share someday, but I know all my children have those memories. They love to play the game of "Remember the time . . .?"
In the picture above of my family, taklen at my 70th birthday, Jamie is on the far right with his hand on his daughter's shoulder. Colin is in the back on my left and Megan on my right; Jordan is kneeling in front.
We normally make a big deal of decade-changing birthdays but we were all together at Christmas and will be again in early February when everyone arrives for the rodeo and stock show. I'd love to have a gathering of the clan to celebrate Jamie this weekend, but we'll do it at stock show time. I remember one year cooking his favorite meal--prime rib--but there are so many of us now there's no way I could afford prime rib for sixteen. I bet we end up with barbecue or chicken-fried steak or, heaven forbid, tacos from Ernesto's when we do celebrate.
I remember better when my brother turned forty than I do when I did. He and his much younger wife were visiting, and I wrote "40" in shaving cream on every mirror in the house. He lost patience. I won't say how many years ago that was, for fear he'd lose patience again. But I think when I turned forty, it wasn't a happy time in my life. For Jamie, it's a happy, good time with a wonderful family, a good business, an active exercise life, and--always--a bit of trickery and fun. He can still prank call me successfully.
So tonight, I'll raise a glass of wine in toast to Jamie, and he'll raise his Diet Coke back at me from Frisco. And then I'll make a second toast to my three other wonderful children, one of whom thank goodness is still in her thirties--okay, late thirties, but we won't quibble. Oops, I'm getting sentimental here. 'Nuf said.

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