Thirty five years ago today, I was physically abused by a man in a position of authority. He did it in public, with the active encouragement of my parents.
Oh, sure, they say
it was just a light smack on my butt to get my crying so air would get into my lungs, but it hurt
. It certainly was no way for a little kid to get introduced to this bright, cold, loud world.
Things did improve fairly quickly after that, to be sure. Once I was free of the clutches of that awful Man in White, the only abuse I received was at the hands of my 3 sisters and 1 brother, and they had the good graces to wait a few years before really starting in on me. Plus, I did learn to give it about as well as I got it, so to speak.
In 1972 the life expectancy was around 68 years, so I'm firmly in my middle age. Of course, I fully expect to live far longer than that, my family does pretty well hanging on for a while, and I've already mentioned my goal of living long enough to be able to set foot on Mars. What I really meant was I refuse to die until that happens.
But there is an increasing sense of my own mortality each time my birthday rolls around - especially because of my no-good nephews and nieces insisting upon growing up, going to college, getting married, buying their own homes and generally turning into wonderful adults. They make me feel so old that if it weren't for how proud I am of each of them I'd be pretty mad.
Each year I'm faced, as many are, with the question of just what I've done with my life, what I've accomplished. These last few years I've been unable to see much on that front. Thanks to having undiagnosed Depression for so long, I've jumped from job to job, from life path to life path. Also thanks to Depression I've found it hard to recognize the cool things I've been able to do as cool things.
But this last year I have been a full-time Dad. And while there are so many areas of that which need improvement, overall I feel like I have done a good job. My children seem pretty happy and healthy. My daughter is bright, fun-loving and well-behaved. My son loves to laugh and explores his world exactly the way a 9 month old is expected to. So I can feel pretty good about what I've accomplished in the last year, at least.
Most importantly I am married to a stunningly beautiful, successful wife. She has succeeded at everything she's ever attempted, and that includes her vows to love me in all circumstances. She has, and were there nothing else in my life good or joyful, her presence would be enough.
Truly, though, I suffer an excess of blessing, a flood of goodness always threatening to overtake me. And that people will actually read this is a big part of that. Both of you!
To my family, my friends both online and offline, thanks for the birthday presents, the ones you give me every day.