To Georgia Jade, On the Occasion of Our Birthday, Year Two

So did you have anything special to eat on this special day, your second birthday? I imagine you had cake. I wonder what kind. Do you have a favorite yet? Or is all cake pretty much the best cake ever? Your aunt Garsy and I spent the day in Indianapolis, going to doctor appointments and getting lab work done. But we found time to eat breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants. Yolk! That’s its name. And holy cow was it yummy. I had pancakes and sausage links and two strips of bacon and two eggs cooked over medium. And to top it all off, they gave me this as a birthday treat!

It s a crepe with Nutella crumbles, glazed strawberries, and a chocolate drizzle. And whipped cream too! Oh, my!

The reason we had to go to the doctor is because I had a kidney transplant six weeks ago. We go to Indianapolis once a week, usually on Monday, so the surgeons and kidney doctors and pharmacists and nurses can make sure my new kidney is working and that no other complications have come up. Your cousin Ty, my oldest son, was my living donor. Since we all have two kidneys, but can live a normal life with only one, my son agreed to have one of his kidneys removed and the doctors put his kidney in my body, where it does the job that my own kidneys quit doing last year. Now, my new kidney keeps my blood clean and I feel like a million bucks. With clean blood, I don’t get tired as easily, my heart works better, and I go to the bathroom way more than I used to. Which is kinda awesome, I must admit. I feel somewhat normal again.

But enough about me. How are you?! I see pictures of you all the time thanks to the wonder that is Facebook, and I even get to hear you laugh when your dad or mom post videos of you. I must say that hearing you laugh makes my day every time. Don’t ever stop laughing, my child. There probably won’t always be someone there to tickle you and make you laugh, so you’ll need to find your own inspiration. Maybe a good joke. Or a funny television show. Or maybe a gorgeous sunset. Even though a sunset may not be funny, it can make you smile and its beauty, and smiling is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from laughing.

Do you have any favorite toys yet? When I was your age, I really liked cars. Especially Hot Wheels cars. Has your dad bought you any of those yet? If not, tell him next time you’re at the store that you want HOT WHEELS! He’ll get you one, I guarantee it.

Well, I better get to bed. It’s been a busy day and I’m not so young anymore and need my beauty rest. And I’ll probably be up quite late tomorrow night. Tomorrow is election day here in America, and it promises to be a doozy of a show. You’ll read all about it one day, I imagine. Read and study about the year politics turned uglier than ever before. Two candidates who are polar opposites and despised equally by people all across our nation. Obviously, I don’t know who will win. I cast my vote a couple weeks ago for the one whose ideas I support, but I don’t know if that person will ultimately go on to win the election and govern our country as president for the next four years.

If there is one thing about this particular election season that troubles me, it’s the way people have taken to disagreeing on things so strongly that they hurt each other’s feelings. Things have been said that cut deeply and I wonder if there will be forgiveness at the end of it all. Will we sit at the Thanksgiving table as families and set aside our differences for the sake of unity? Or will we continue to argue and ignore one another’s unique perspective? Will we be able to talk again without shouting? I know this will take both hearing and listening. Reasoned talking and considerate silence. Eye contact and a gentle touch.

I will try to do my part. I know I won’t do it perfectly, and I won’t expect perfection from others. I will try to practice compassion, a big word that means treating others the way you’d like to be treated. It’s been called the “Golden Rule,” and it has a long history, going back thousands of years and embraced by a variety of people of varied backgrounds and beliefs. It means seeing the common good in all those around us and treating them like fellow human beings. To do all this requires a focused effort to pay attention and seek peace while suppressing our desire to be right or angry or the loudest person in the room. It takes practice and time and is not an impossible thing. We will need each other in the days ahead, and I hope we can find a way to rise up and share this space with grace and mercy.

Happy birthday, my dear Georgia Jade. May you sleep surrounded by gumdrop dreams and fluffy, warm clouds of love.

Until next year . . .

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