Monday, December 18, 2017

Best Birthday EVER!

30 Kislev 5778, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Tevet, 6th day of Chanukah.

Not mine. Though my recent 60th was very, very special, thanks to the Dearly Beloved.

Rather, it was that very Dearly Beloved's birthday this past week. The fellow who has spent most of his 69 years worrying more about the happiness of those he loves than striving for his own contentment. I don't think I've ever known anyone who puts other people at the top of the list to such a healthy degree. You have to be very comfortable in your own skin to do that successfully; and Coach is indeed blessed with that extraordinary self-possession.

Four of our sons were in Israel for the birthday party. And they really came up to bat (if my football players will forgive an "unworthy" metaphor). Via Snapfish, they and their lovely brides produced a book of Abba's famous sayings. The book is filled with photographs that remind them of special moments between each of them and Abba, with funny expressions he is given to repeating, and most preciously, with love letters from each of them. (Life hack: If you want to tell that special someone that they do, indeed, matter to you very much, don't wait. Write that letter now. You cannot know the power of your heartfelt words.) Each son or daughter-in-law read passages of the book, to much laughter. And tears of love flowed when they each read their own letters aloud.

My contribution was the best photo ever (IMHO) of Coach.
After we finished drying our eyes and congratulating each other, I brought out the last gift: a painting by our very talented friend, Steven Seward. I don't think anyone has captured my dear best friend as well as Steven did. He has not just talent but wisdom: since his work had to be done without a model and with an ocean between us, he asked for several photos from which to choose. After perusing them, he told me he wanted to use the one that would make Avi happiest: the one with his bride in the picture. Smart guy, this portrait artist! (Kudos and gratitude to his lovely bride, Caryn Good Seward, for facilitating so much of this project.)

We look forward to celebrating many, many birthdays together, please God. But this year's birthdays have certainly reminded us that the best gift of all is the love of our humans.

Chag Urim sameach. Keep adding light to the world!

Special thanks to my daughters-in-love for hosting a wonderful Shabbat birthday celebration, with delicious food, comfy sleeping arrangements, and grandchildren, bli ayin hara, puh-puh-puh!

Interested in contacting Steven for the commission of a portrait? You can visit his website to view his portfolio at I'm always happy to make a shidduch.