You’ve been there. I have, too. Bemoaning the fact that so-and-so's birthday’s snuck up on us so fast, even though it's the same bloody day every year. You scramble for the perfect gift, the perfect card, something to show you care. Something to help you avoid looking like a thoughtless ass. Your best ideas are long gone and you’re simply searching the aisles of Hallmark or a floral shop for some sort of redemption. Gift card? I think not.
Today, April 4, is Michelle’s birthday. Will I be running around frantically looking for a last-minute symbol of my love and affection? Nope. I’ve found the perfect gift. Peace.
Mighty haughty proclamation, donthca think?
If you know anything about Club Condron, you’re quite aware of the chaos that is our lives. Mallory and Anna? There haven’t been hurricanes fierce enough to merit those names. Me? You’ve read enough of my musings and misgivings on these pages to know my contribution to the mass hysteria. Pudge? Perfect, of course. Michelle? A saint of a woman, I tell ya.
Why is she deserving of such an ideal and elusive gift as peace? She’s due…plain and simple.
You’ve seen those charts that list life events and the amount of stress related to each. And how that stress can manifest itself into illness and other general malaise. For Michelle, the stress she’s endured over the past few years could have buckled the hull of an aircraft carrier. Her husband nearly dropped dead in March 2014 and is working his way back to some semblance of health, but not without great challenges and assistance from the family. Her mother, Barb, passed away in March 2015. Her father, Merl, less than a year later in February 2016.
Professionally, Michelle’s job is as demanding as any I know. She’s deeply entrenched in the throes of Corporate America with its relentless deadlines, after-hours emails and calls, and the typical mayhem associated with helping a worldwide research and development team run as smoothly as possible. In every job she’s ever had, she has been known as Radar O’Reilly, an old-guy reference to the “he knows what to do before the boss can put it into words” MASH television character from days gone by. The woman can read minds, I tell ya. And it freaks me out.
I haven't even touched on the demands of motherhood, which cannot be overstated. And there continue to be a host of difficult hurdles to conquer, some of which you may share, some you’d never want to experience.
“So, Timmy Boy,” I hear you saying, “how do you plan on giving that well deserving wife of yours the gift of peace?”
Damn fine question. Not entirely sure. But my plan is to practice peace as much as I can in my own life, hoping that it somehow makes a difference in hers and then spreads throughout our home. I have a few gifts planned for today that symbolize peace. But more importantly, I’ll be making a conscious effort to be a more positive influence, to have more reason to live than just the job and paying bills, to better screen out the nefarious influences of politics and a divided society, to let life’s inevitable shitstorms come as they may without taking chunks of my soul with them.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving and, if I can pull it off, it’ll be priceless. Even if I don’t get it exactly right, I’ll be better for the effort. More importantly, I hope Michelle will be better for it, too.
Happy birthday, Michelle. I love you!