Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Gift of Family

On Penrose Mornings, over the past few years, it has become an undeclared tradition to acknowledge a brother's or a sister's birthday with fun comments, sharing of memories, and expressions of love, all with a little humor tucked here and there. This has become one of my favorite things on my birthday, never knowing what might be written but anticipating that only the good things will be remembered. The writing has been a source of encouragement to keep trying, as well as a comfort when there are challenges or unexpected twists and turns to be dealt with.

Because there appears to be challenges ahead, some unknown, some known, I decided there was something I wanted to do this year. This post isn't really an attempt to change our undeclared tradition, but, perhaps, to add a new dimension to that tradition. On the eve of my 68th birthday, I wanted to tell each of you how much I love you, and how thankful I am for your goodness, for your example to me, for the laughter shared, for the complete acceptance of me and mine regardless of faults and flaws, and for being willing to share your lives with me. I am thankful to be part of an eternal family.

When I look at this photo I can hear Dad's laugh, Mother's encouragement to get with it, Dwight's teasing, yodeling, "intellectual speak" and concern for each of us, Louise's gentle strength and smile, Elizabeth's enthusiasm for a new project, Judy's perfection of Mother's skill of answering a question with a question, and Steve's love of creating beautiful "things". Then there are those who are not in the photo, spouses, children, grandchildren and now, for some, great grandchildren. What a wonderful life we have been blessed with, and that I get to be a little piece of this family is incredible. I am truly blessed, even though I am not excited about the increase in my age.

If I could have a birthday wish this year (it is impossible to cover the important things with just one wish) for our Penrose clan and all those who help make our family complete, it would be that we will find something good in each new day, that we will continue to have faith in eternal principles, that we will give a hug to someone we love daily, and that we will look for one thing to laugh about each day, even if no one else sees the humor.

May we always be there for each other in the good times, as well as when the times are most difficult, and may we always remember that whatever this next year brings, we will not go through it alone. I love you all. Ann


Dwight said...

Just beautiful. Thank you so much.

Elizabeth said...

Incredibly well spoken, Ann. You stopped being "little sister" many, many years ago, and the wisdom of your sum total of experiences is a lesson to all of us. This was a wonderful gift to us for your birthday.

Steve Blood said...

WOW!!! May I say wow? I can always tell when it's almost Ann's birthday, we are almost through with Thanksgiving leftovers. Happy birthday, everything has been said.

Judy said...

Before responding, I took a moment to find the Kleenex box and then to enlarge this now famous photo of, as Ann says, the Penrose clan. Upon doing so, I made a huge discovery, at least for me. For those on the back row, eyes are looking here and there and on a different level. However, Dad's eyes and Mom's eyes are looking directly into the eyes of the viewer. It is as if they see us. And I believe that to be true, literally.
Ann's written gift has spoken what is in all of our hearts at this very tender time.
Happy Birthday, Ann. 68 has never looked so good.

Louise Blood said...

Ann, you do know how to touch the heart and may your birthday wish be granted, every bit of it. Our indivicual strength comes from a strong family bond, and showing this special picture brings it clearly to ones mind that we have been blessed to have just that. May I add one more note to what you said about those in the picture, it would be your optimism and sunshiney outlook. Happy birthday, dear sister.

Dwight said...

I remember so well when this family photo was taken in Olympia, the only family photo ever taken of the six children and parents. The moment was difficult because we knew this photo would be the lasst and only family photo we would ever have to treasure, since Mother was ill when this was taken. This was the last time I was ever to see her alive since we lived in Colorado. I still find it painful in many ways to study this photo because of our impending loss and what that would mean to our family.