It was 1984, and there were 15 of us gathered to celebrate love, those things we had in common like strife and joy, and just relax in each other’s company. That was an event oft carried out during both holidays and birthdays – this time we were celebrating Valentine’s Day – a day of love. Back then as family gathered what we celebrated most was the gift of our children – they were young then and heck, so were we (sigh).
Chris and I have traveled the road of life together for forty-three years, that road has always been filled with the “noise” of life, like you we’ve often found life’s streets closed forcing us to travel an unplanned route, we’ve ran out of the ‘gas of life’ from time-to-time, but there was always this – a cry from the back seat – “are we there yet?.” After giving this considerable thought I’ve reached this conclusion – there is absolutely no love like the love of a child. For a child’s love is life’s greatest treasure.
Years have passed for Chris and me since our children were “children.” Our kids are now adults with children of their own, but for us – ah, that is perhaps the greatest gift life brings - the gift of grandchildren. I know this doesn’t sound right, but truth is – kids are great but there is nothing like grandchildren. I think the difference is found in the “loving,” for loving children requires that we include discipline, career direction, monitoring morality and ethics, and ensuring they are educated and steeped in hope, faith and love. With grandchildren there is this one responsibility – to ensure they know they are loved. Perhaps this truth reveals why Cupid is a child and not some gorgeous gal or guy.
It was 1989, I had recently been promoted and felt it ‘my duty’ to bring work home to ensure I was on top of the projects under my direction. I was sitting in the dining room with my companion (my IBM computer) working when my son Tommy came to my side and asked, “Dad can we go out and throw the football for a while?” I looked at him with love and then – returning to my work without hesitation reply – “maybe later Tommy, I’m too busy now.” Just last week, as I sat at the table updating one of my clients’ records, my grandson Caden approached and asked – “Hey PopPop – can we go outside and play catch?” It took only seconds to pull the laptop closed, put on my shoes and reply – “first one out chooses the ball.”
I’m sure the vast majority of you reading my columns understands the great gift of children, and I’m sure you completely agree on the splendor of grandchildren (they are simply ‘grand’)! And so I want to share the joy of love tomorrow with you – in spirit of course, but know I’ll be there to put my arm around your shoulder and inhale the love you’ll feel when you wish your children a Happy Valentine’s Day. If, like my Christi – they are with One, close your eyes and listen to the gentle breeze of life – hear the whisper – “I love you - I love you”. These words are for you, “life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.” Happy Valentine’s Day – embrace the moment.
Thomas H. Hunkele of Troup County is a certified fitness trainer and president of Lakeside Fitness.