Another trip around the sun concluded for me this week. And that’s not even the biggest event for us this May, a month which we are barely halfway through!
Let’s not talk about my birthday though. Not because I feel anything negative about becoming another year older, but because anything I feel about the subject I already covered in a post-birthday blog (Birthdays) in 2016. And this year – and maybe in particular, this month – life seems to be about beginnings and fresh starts, not adding up the mileage.
So then, let’s start at the beginning. May 1st. It was a beautiful sunny and warm spring day here in northern Illinois. Kurt made plans for us to take in the Chicago Botanical Garden in the afternoon. It was the perfect day for it, although it was a date we had firmed up more than a week earlier since COVID restrictions require a reservation. We could not have gotten a better day had we been able to reserve that too.
We strolled through several garden areas, out to the Japanese Garden, then back through the Waterfall Garden where the late afternoon sunshine sparkled through the trees and reflected off the moving streams. The only other time we walked the Garden was during the holiday light shows the last two Decembers, and the Orchid Show in early 2020. Mostly, we had gone there to run on the outer walking paths, North Branch Trail, and down to Skokie Lagoons.
There was of course the first time we were there for a walk in 2019 right after the marathon and as a result of a post-training endorphin deficiency I was a bit cranky. We got in a fight (for something I can’t recall) and briefly went our separate ways that afternoon. The contrast of that moment in this spring day was punctuated as I suddenly noticed Kurt fumbling with something and getting down on one knee.
I barely recall what he said. Something about knowing from the beginning… and then I hope you’ll say yes. To which I said yes before the question was asked. And then YES! again.
Kurt is one of the most kind, thoughtful, and caring people I’ve every met. For example, his choice of the First of May was because he wanted the day to be special (as if a marriage proposal isn’t special enough!). The First of May in Ireland is the beginning of the Celtic Festival of Bealtaine. My sister in Ireland when I questioned her about it only knew it only as the “bank holiday” celebrated annually on the first Monday in May. It serves as an unofficial start to the summer season like our Memorial Day, but symbolically more in line with our Labor Day (just in case you were interested).
Yet, his thoughtfulness didn’t go unappreciated. It’s one his virtues that I most appreciate. I not only love him for the way he treats me, but because of what I’ve witnessed. I see the thoughtfulness and care that he puts into every relationship and very encounter. I see how good he has been to my daughter, his children and their mom, to the people we run with, the baristas at Starbucks, the cashiers at Whole Foods, and random people on the street.
Kurt meets my definition of what it means to be a good human. He has made me a better human too and I couldn’t think of anyone else I would rather have as my forever.
But that’s not all. On Mother’s Day a new little person entered our lives. Austin George. Weighing in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces, he is the lucky one that gets to be the first person ever to call Kurt Grandpa. And what an incredible Grandpa he will have.
For my birthday, we went out to dinner – actually OUT to a restaurant for the first time in close to 15 months. All the adults in our family are vaccinated and with restrictions relaxing, along with our own personal events this month, I feel so hopeful. As I get to share my next trip around the sun with Austin’s first, I can’t help but dream of some very special times ahead for all of us.
My dad would remind me every night at bedtime that the next day was the first day of the rest of my life. This, I truly feel, is the first month of the rest of our lives.