So today is my birthday.  Yes, that big day that’s like a personal holiday for all of us.  Our day.  When friends and family come out of the woodwork to wish us a happy birthday and an even better year ahead, and while I’ve been whining online the last few days about turning 31, the truth is over this last year of being three decades old, or should I say young, my aging ego has finally come to terms with the idea that each year I will inevitably keep turning older.  In all sincerity, I am really quite grateful to have been able to make it this far and looking back to where it all began, in a tiny shack with no electricity just a lot of hope, my heart is humbled, my faith strengthened.  So in appreciation for all the well wishes, emails, tweets, wall posts, phone calls, etc., my offering to you, dear reader, is the imparting of these words below: a summary really of my first three decades of life.

Happiest Moments

Waking up that Christmas.  Being eight years old.  Actually feeling the magic of the season.  The sheer surprise of finding a gift for me.  Walking across the stage with my sister as college graduates.  Riding nine people to a car all the way to Mexico.  Doing it again as adults.  Hearing my name with the word ‘daddy’ in front of it for the first time.  Making the promise ‘till death do us part’ and meaning it.  Smiles on my mother’s face.  Tears of joy.  My father’s embrace.  Laughing till it hurts.  The mishap between my brother in law and my mother’s gift.  White tux, pink vest.  Violin lessons.  Recitals.  Forgiving.  Being forgiven.  And time to go ‘yu-yu’ of course.

Hardest Moments

Racing to the hospital.  Waiting for results in the lobby.  Tears on my shoulders.  Uncontrollable weeping.  Saying goodbye every summer.  The blows.  The words.  The pain.  Guilt.  Falling flat on my face.  Watching loved ones fall flat.  Not being able to do anything about it.  Heartbreak.  Growing apart.  Distance.  Facing the ugly truth.  Realizing words cannot change people.  Allowing the heart to love once again.  Starting over.  Failure.  Making mistakes.  Talking through glass walls.  Dolor ajeno.  Death.  

Most Humbling Moments

Hearing ‘I love you’ in my darkest hours.  Receiving help from those with less to give.  Speaking my parents’ words.  My wife standing by my side.  Never letting me fall.  Thank-yous.  Calls of concern at two in the morning.  Presentimientos.  Being told to shut up.  Hearing the truth.  Experiencing the kindness of strangers.  My sisters’ sweat to help provide for us.  Their care of us, as children themselves.  Acceptance no matter what.  Our house in the Valley built for us at no cost.  Bags of clothing, groceries and toys pulling us through.  In-laws showing up to help.  Without even being asked.  Shelter.  Disappointment through the eyes.  My boy’s love.  Caring so much about other people.  Doors always open to me.  Responsibility for the ones that follow.  Growing up.

Funniest Moments

Getting spanked in front of my kindergarten class.  Getting spanked as a teenager by my mother.  Ordering eight whoppers as a fat kid.  Mishaps in middle school gym class.  High school play auditions.  Not being able to catch my balance.  Nostrils flaring as a tell-tell sign.  Dancing with my brother.  Mom drinking a shot of tequila.  Dad’s pranks.  Drunk episodes.  Too many to count.  Restroom walk-ins.  Naked walk-ins.  Running out of the house in only underwear.  Ice water on the bed.  And on me.  Spooking Edgar.  Getting locked inside a closet.  Getting kicked out of Catechism school.  And of course confusing The Galleria for a galleria.  As in a hen house.

Thank-Yous

To my mother and father for life and love.  Lessons of never giving up.  My older sisters.  Amazing support and motivation.  Strength even now.  My brother.  Respect and dignity.  Taught me it was okay for a man to cry.  My younger brother.  My rock through so many years.  The violinist of the family.  A sister wise beyond her years.  Caring.  Loving.  Truthful.  My baby sis.  Powerful.  A fighter.  Pulling me through so many times.  Pride.  My wife.  Side by side.  Against all odds.  Making me a better person.  Putting up with me.  Joy.  Beauty.  Grace.  My Edgar.  What a feeling to experience a love so pure and innocent.  My little man.  Friends and family.  There through every season.  Believing in me.  Even when I’ve doubted myself.  Blessed in every sense.  My prayers always with you.

Once again, thank you guys for remembering me today.  Let’s see what three decades, plus one year are all about these next 12 months!  And hopefully another three decades, and then some.

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