My best friend turns 40 today. I remember when he turned 5. I also remember his 13th and 16th birthdays as well. His 18th and 21st are a little blurry, but we aren’t going to talk about that. We have been best friends since shortly after leaving our mother’s wombs. You see, we are only 3 weeks apart. (Yes, I will be 40 very shortly…) Our parents were friends. We lived in the same neighborhood. We lived at each others homes. His mom was my second mother and mine was his.
It might seem strange that as an adult, I remember another kid’s 5th birthday, but that birthday was a big deal. He was making the “cut” to start kindergarten and I was not going to be joining him. This was a life changing event to me at the time. Turned out that it didn’t matter. Our friendship survived that challenge and many more to come.
Our adult lives haven’t always allowed us to spend as much time together as we would like since we live a few hours apart, but being around him is as comfortable as being with a brother. He was the best man at my wedding and I was his. We both married wonderful women, who can usually keep us under control. (Something that we were not always good at doing on our own.) Some things however, will never change. We have spent New Years Eve together for at least the last 30 years. (Including the year of the accident.) We still both refer to each other as Buzz. (Our children now refer to us as Buzz.) There are secrets and stories that we will go to our graves keeping simply because we made a pinkie swear.
One thing I learned from my accident is that there is nothing more important in life than family. Buzz is family. He is also someone I have always looked up to. He has been a role model for hard work and determination his entire life. He is the type of person who always leads by example. That is something I want to emulate.
The kids and I got to spend the day with he and his daughter yesterday. It still amazes me that we are fathers. As I sit here writing this, I picture us in my mind as kids throwing a baseball in his backyard. Now our kids play in the backyard. Life goes by so quickly. God has blessed me by surrounding me with a very strong family as I continue to recover. Short of life itself, family is the greatest gift He has given me.
Happy Birthday Buzz! (You may now kiss the bride…)