Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Birthday Blessing

By the time I was 21, I'd been married nearly three years.   During that time, both hubby & I worked fulltime while he went to college. so we could afford to pay our living expenses, as well as those associated with his education.  It never occurred to us to expect or ask for help. 

We agreed that we would one day begin a family, but not until he had his degree and a job that paid well enough for me to stay home and raise a child, or children.  It was a hopeful dream I anticipated often. 

On many levels ours was an idealic life.  We were young & idealistic; passionate about life & each other; hard working & fun loving.  We did have our challenges, and learning to share & consider the needs of another was often daunting for we wizened 18 year olds. 

We had precious little in the way of worldly goods, but we had enough.  And when the time was right, so too was the desire to expand our boundaries.
In the summer of 1969 I was bulging at my proverbial seams (see photo at right), pregnant with our oldest son, Bradley James.  We were over-the-top excited about his birth, though for the life of us we could not imagine how that would feel, or even how it would alter our lives.

With Brad's arrival came a new job for hubby, a new home (rental) for our growing family, and a new horizon for our collective futures.  Our sweet boy truly became the focal point of our lives. 

In time we would add Molly Diane  (1970), and then Kelly Michael (1973).  But those early days with Brad often left me at a loss for words to explain how consumed with love was I for the wee ladd in my care. 

Brad was adorable.  A smart, precocious, curious child with curly blond locks & eyes of deepest hue - he learned fast, talked early, and was forever studying something enigmatic.  He still is. 

Over the years Brad would be our resident brainiac.  Gifted in all ways except bedroom cleanliness, he would excel in school.  His finely tuned sense of humor provided us with many hours of raucous laughter.  (I will forever think of him when I hear the line from Speilberg's movie, "E.T., phone home.")

There wasn't a Lego he couldn't quickly craft into some architectural wonder; nor a complex, boxed model that he didn't dispatch in a fortnight (I knew I'd get to use that word someday).  His nightly dinner-table revelations kept us all wondering how this kid knew so much.  He was forever tutoring us.  He still is. 

This week that curious wee ladd turns 43.  Not much has changed in time's span.   

Recently Brad retired from the Marines.  It came as no surprise that he would find civil employment in a familiar arena, working for an organization that restores/repairs Blackhawk helicopters for the military - specifically for our troops fighting in the Middle East.  Simultaneously he's working on his college degree in accounting, hoping to go on for his MBA.  

Brad does simultaneous well. 

Several years ago Brad took up kayaking, and just last year built his own.  He's an avid student of the scriptures, leaning favorably in the direction of Judaism.
There are few in the family that cherish our Celtic (Scots/Irish) heritage as much as Brad.  A few years ago he began connecting to our roots (a passtime we share), following our McAleer & McFadden clans to the shores of bonnie-bonnie West Scotland; to the mulls & glens we consider to be our ancestral home.  Inspired to study the history & tartans of our clans, he is now fully kilted when representing us with yet another learned skill:  bagpiping.  Today he plays whenever this mama asks (like at Thanksgiving, when he provided a benediciton of Amazing Grace), and as part of the Olympia Highland Piping Band.


(Brad, tallest piper/middle, 2nd row)

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Robert Burns

Today I am mindful of how gracious has God been in placing this particular man in our midst.  Yes, he's still a precocious and fun son, but he's so much more:  a devoted husband and father, a terrific friend, a patriot, a lover of all things green & glorious. 

We are still over-the-top with his place in our lives.  In more ways than I can recount here, he has altered our lives - better than we could ever have imagined.   

(Allie, Megan, Erik the grad, Brad)


If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
So let it be.
Scottish Blessing


rcubes said...

What a beautiful post your family can always read about your awesome blessing: Brad. Happy Birthday to him and may the Lord bless him richly and continue to guide him as he follows what He wills for Him. How awesome that must be to see what he has become. And like what you said...still not over. He continues to be a willing vessel, laden with talents from the Best Giver's Hands. God bless you all sister...

Rebecca said...

The Scottish blessing is SO significantly connected with this milestone for "your" Brad. (Thank you, Brad, for your service to our nation.)

What an interesting multidimensional person he must be! I'm inspired just READING about him.

Sonja said...

Oh how I relate to this post. You've said it so well for the mother who loves her boys. Brad is so blessed to have you for his mom, as you are blessed to have him as your son.

Happy Birthday Brad!!!

The poem at the end will forever be true, won't it?

cindy said...

What an inspiring post.

Diana Ferguson said...

Birthday Blessings to him! That was such a special post.

Debbie Petras said...

Happy birthday to Brad! You know how unusual it is to be married so young and still continue to love one another? That in itself is a special blessing! I love learning more and more about you Kathleen.

Blessings and love,

Denise said...

Such a precious, heart touching tribute to your son. Hope his birthday was all he wished for.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I never had a son, but I am absolutely sure any son would be so blessed and honored to have a tribute written about him, like you did for Brad. I wish him a belated happy birthday! As I read your tribute I found myself smiling, as I know where he acquired some of his traits.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Mercy, what a tribute to a fine man and his equally fine momma. I have a Brad, a few of them. I often wonder what my Jadon will become; we're homeschooling, and I see something in him I don't see in his brothers. He things differently about the world.

Such a gift he's been to us, a challenge as well. I think it will all work out in the end.

Sounds like a sassy son, you have!