As I sit at my computer listening to U2 on my iTunes shuffle and the clock nears midnight, bringing my birthday to a close, I can’t help but feel loved. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the daily rat race of life, even when taking time off from work. One easily forgets all the lives that touch you in a multitude of ways. Life truly is a blessing, and its the times shared with others that make it so.
Birthdays were always joyous events in my life. Whether its a bash @ the old McDonald’s in Charlestown @ age 6, a sleepover @ Monument Sq @ age 10, beers up the back of the Park @ 17, or a sober 22nd birthday @ the D.A.T. Club; who doesn’t love their birthday?! There’s plenty of other cool ones too… Sorry if I forget them. I do remember last year’s 40th @ my parents, that was awesome (and I didn’t want it!) but this year was different.
Gratefulness was on my mind a lot today. I think it started at dinner last night with my family. Having my parents, wife, kids, sister & nephew, & my brother there was all I could want. Seeing the joy that the presence of a 17 month old boy can bring to us makes me respect life so much more than I do. It’s truly a gift that gets taken for granted. Not too long ago it was my kids that were crawling on the floor entertaining us with silly faces & baby words. I can’t help but feel old. Not that 41 is old! But jesus does time fly by. My youngest is 9! It feels like yesterday she was born. Now she makes us laugh with her sense of humor & her song lyrics. “Yes it’s Party time! But you better be out by 9!”
I had a quiet day off here @ Anfield, paying bills & helping my sick son work on his high school applications. High School! I mean seriously, he’s 13, he was just bouncing in his bouncy chair as a baby, with all of us sitting around him staring in awe, just enjoying the sight. Now its almost off to high school, and a potential boarding school at that, and he’s asking me car prices! And yes I was grateful even when paying my bills. I’m blessed to do so today. Some quality time with my daughters after school grabbing a cupcake for my birthday, or Chinese food for dinner as a family (doesn’t happen enough), a few gifts, ice cream cake (again!) and I’m a happy happy happy man.
Maybe it was the news of U2 touring for the 30th Anniversary of the Joshua Tree (WTF!) that got me all sentimental today. 30 years ago that album changed my life! Just so good start to finish. Damn. Maybe because it reminds me at times of my dad, who’s been gone 28 years this May. That album really spoke to me after he died. Where The Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, With Or Without You, Running To Stand Still, Exit, Mothers Of The Disappeared, & most importantly Red Hill Mining town. God what an emotional album. It was, and still is, so easy to get lost in that album. And to read The Edge in Rolling Stone talk about finally doing that song live just makes me want to sneak into every show within a 300 mile radius of Boston this summer. I snuck into the TD Garden back in ’01 for the Elevation Tour. And that makes me think of Mike Duncan who died a few months after that… Funny I can totally rock out to U2 like nobody’s business, but certain songs can bring me right to a sad, emotional, yet grateful place.
Like I wrote, I’m so grateful this year, probably every year, but all the birthday love in texts, on Facebook, and in person was extra special this year. It makes me feel like George Bailey, every year. “No man is a failure who has friends.” And as midnight hits in a minute I say “Happy Birthday to me!”