Today is my birthday (da na na na na na .. na na), and Beatles references aside, it’s been a great day.
It began with a voice mail from a dear friend of mine. He was waxing eloquent about how we have both traveled similar roads in life. He was remembering fondly conversations we shared, experiences we created together and how it was apparent God allowed us to meet so we could draw strength from each other.
“It’s like we’re riding together in this peloton of life” he told me. “Sometimes I take the lead and break through the wind. Sometimes you’re out in front, leading the way.”
I was sidetracked by my inner twelve year-old. “Did he say ‘breaking wind’?”
me: “Look out back there……I just broke wind.”
him: “Awwwwwwww. Geeeeees, dude. You’re not right. Man, you should have that checked out. Seriously. Did you have Mexican last night or something?”
me: “No, but your MOM did. Haaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”
And that’s what being 34 is all about. Having friends around whom you can ‘release’ yourself and totally bust on their moms. That is, of course, unless their mom is deceased. Then you go to sisters and ex-wives. It’s important to note, however, that under no circumstances do you ever bust on a buddy’s daughter. That’s completely sacrilegious.
But in all seriousness, my birthday had been great because of one constant. Love. Beginning with that of my girlfriend, proceeding to the love of my kids, surrounded by the love of my family and enveloped by the love of my friends, today – as is every day – has been a complete blessing.
About 8 months ago, my world was forever changed with one road trip. It was the Sister Hazel Hang at Isle of Palms, South Carolina, and it’s were I met most of the people I consider close friends today. And these friendships have branched out to relationships and to the point where I no longer view these individuals as friends but rather as family.
We have shared moments together. Ice cream socials, dinners, concerts, nights out around the town, and this little thing called The Rock Boat, my world has been strengthened and solidified by all the individuals that make up the Hazelnut community. In addition to this amazing aspect of my life, I have long-established friends who have been there for me from the beginning, two beautiful children who are my world, and a beautiful girlfriend that loves me unconditionally.
And one by one, they have called, e-mailed, text messaged, and posted comments on my MySpace and the Sister Hazel message board. They have sent an outpouring of love and well wishes. They have made me feel like a king for the day. They have made me the center of their thoughts and focus for one day out of the year. And ultimately, they have all made me feel loved.
I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people. Friends, family and Sister Hazel fans …. it really doesn’t get much better than this. And to quote Sister Hazel, “It’s all about the love”, and I In my 34 years of life, I have never been in a better place or felt as much love as I do right now.
I thank everyone for making today that much more special, and I thank God for guiding me to where I am in my life.