happy birthday, son…

One of the things that puzzles me is how we react to life…

We can be so flippant, so callous. We can behave or believe as if some lives are better or worth more than others. Every time I fall or see someone seemingly fall into that shallow societal trap, I sense we are clearly missing out on some beauty or blessing specifically designed for us. There is so much to learn when we see no life as different.

One of those nothing-short-of-profound blessings happened eighteen years ago today; please oblige a more personal  —  albeit meaningful  —  post. One of my absolute, most favorite people was born on this day in 2001.

There wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare at the time; in fact, I remember significant worry, as we awaited word of how extensive a life-threatening heart defect would be. I now kind of wonder if the heavenly realms were cheering mightily that day. I couldn’t see it right then. I see more clearly now.

It did take some work to shed some of the initial shock and sting; take the geneticist’s words, for example. I don’t doubt he meant well.

He walked into labor and delivery, no more than an hour after birth, and began with zero salutation. He simply said, “This must be the saddest day of your whole life.”

The blank stare on my face was neither horror nor offense; it simply was a “wow… you don’t get it…” His words made no sense. A chromosomal condition may not be something one prays for, but every child comes with a few unwished for hurdles. Some hurdles are just a little more obvious.

Every birth is a miracle. Every life is a gift. My son is no lesser.

So on birthday number eighteen (a day in which his exuberance cannot come close to being contained — I exaggerate not), allow me to share a little more about my amazing young son…

  • He is witty and funny and bright.
  • He is engaging and inspiring and is better with people than most.
  • He is humble and kind.
  • He isn’t judgmental; he doesn’t let crap get in the way of people.
  • He likes pizza… and nachos and pretty much anything associated with queso. 
  • He finds food to be a bridge to community and connection… (yes, bright, I said).
  • He is brave.
  • He is inspiring.
  • He is adventurous; in fact, he wants to ride pretty much everything at Disney, which is a wee bit more than maybe one or two of his parents.
  • He can be stubborn — “determined” is the nicer word.
  • He is quick to ask for forgiveness. 
  • He loves music, motorcycles, and all things Batman.
  • He proudly calls his gold jewelry “ice.”
  • He wants to be a pop star.
  • He can sing most every song by the up-and-coming boy band “Why Don’t We” and also by Eben, our long-time, adopted family member.
  • He loves Zipper, our cat, and Yogi, our dog — but he will quickly admit he loves Zipper more.
  • He is good at making videos — especially on Mac’s iMovie; he’s been working on his grad video for 3 years!
  • He is also good at XBOX — especially NBA2K and WWE.
  • He’s becoming a Buccaneers fan (easier than the Bengals this year).
  • He has posters of Steph Curry, Michael Jordan, and Tim Tebow on his wall; much to his “funcle’s” delight, he prob still likes LeBron more.
  • He adores and admires his two older brothers.
  • He is cherished by them.
  • He has a special relationship with his older brothers’ best friends.
  • He is treasured, too, by our extended family, who have always been “for” him since the day he was born. 
  • He has great friends ranging in age and stage across the country — from New York to Arizona. Of course, his love of the land in Ohio is included along the way.
  • He has the gift of encouragement.
  • He has the gift of the rap.
  • He sings at the bus stop more mornings than not. Loudly.
  • His faith is solid and contagious; he likes to sit in the front row at church.
  • He has great joy, lots of patience, and one very special extra chromosome. 

In Josh I have learned much. The reality is that because of Josh, I have grown in ways I otherwise would have not…

… through the beauty… through the blessing…

Every life is a gift.



14 Replies to “happy birthday, son…”

  1. You are an AWESOME writer. I just loved reading this and the love for your son . I have watched your posts on Facebook and I just love watching Josh sing. I feel he is my friend through Facebook. One day I would love to meet him and of course see you again too!!!

  2. “May the work of God be displayed in all of our lives…”
    His light shines through you.
    Happy birthday, Josh!
    With love from Doug and Jan

  3. Josh is joy! From the first day I met him he brought me so much happiness. I was blessed to have him in my life and he will forever be in my heart❤️ Have the best birthday my sweet friend

  4. What a blessing to read this. Every life is a gift and every life has a purpose. Seems his is to live and “love” in abundance. Psalm 139:13-14

  5. He is JOSH! One of the kindest kids I have ever met! He is so charismatic, nothing stands in his way. His way is kindness, loving and caring for one and ALL. Be prepared when you see him a HUG is about to happen, and when it dose you will be over come by genuine LOVE!

  6. Wow that is such a wonderful tribute to Josh and you on his 18th Birthday! Your words were so elloquently written. Ever descriptions made me smile with some memory of the fun times we had with Josh. I think a trip to El Picanta is in order today for a tribute to his Birthday and if course we will get queso! Party on in Orlando and hugs to all!!

  7. That was such an inspirational piece! I loved Josh the first time I met him at the dental office. I always looked forward to his appointments. He would always talk to me at length and I oh so enjoyed those conversations. And you my friend have done a great job with him. You should be very very proud!!! Please tell Josh I wish him the happiest of birthdays!!!

  8. Ann,

    You described the Josh that the Lovellette’s count as one of us. As you know, we describe him as our “4th Son,” and I have regularly called him my most loyal friend. He is…all that you described…as well as the only human on earth who can recalibrate my life, almost automatically, merely by talking or spending time with me. All of us celebrate with you on the occasion of the very special birthday of a most special young man.

  9. So beautifully written, Ann! I am so thankful to have had Josh in my life for 3 years. He, and you, taught me much. Miss you all!

  10. Thank you for sharing. Josh is a delight and a blessing. God gave our family a beautiful treasure in Josh. I love his exuberance. And I love your gift of writing. Thanking God for putting us in the same family.

  11. Oh so very true in a sweet, loving, perceptive way. Y,es, Josh lights up my world and everyone else who knows him.
    Hope he knows how well loved he is❤️

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