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Eight is my lucky number. Some number of years ago I rolled a lucky double eight and out I popped ... born to two very sweet dear people who I have come to know as "Dad and Mom". Lucky me, for many reasons but most especially because that Dad and Mom are my Dad and Mom. They are my lucky double eights. Today is my birthday, and I have looked forward to this birthday in particular for quite a long time. I have patiently circled the sun some 51 times looking forward to the arrival of this, my luckiest day of them all. August 8, 2008 ... 080808. Oh, 8. And today my thoughts are mostly on my parents. I told them once they are national treasures in my mind and heart. In my life, I have tried to honor and love and treasure my parents. Sometimes I have goofed up, but being parents I doubt they remember my goofs anywhere near as much as they remember my glories. That's how it is with parents when they look at their children. The way we have lived life, my parents and my children and I are the very best of friends and teammates. We came to call ourselves "The A Team" because of the special quality of our bond and how together we can overcome anything, mutually protect and support one another, and create a beautiful future together no matter the odds. When I was 16 years old (a while back now) I made the Daisy Afghan you see in these photos for Dad and Mom for their wedding anniversary (their anniversary is August 16, by the way). Mom took such great care of that afghan that now, all of these years later, it looks just as good as new. She passed it along to my daughter a few years ago, and my daughter is so tender hearted she treasures it dearly. The gratitude I feel for my parents and my children, for the love and experiences we have enjoyed and will enjoy as future days come and go, is so large and full there is no adequate means of expressing it. Somehow the universe blessed me with icing on my cake of life ... a dearer husband than I could have imagined (and I have a very big imagination). With so much to be grateful for, I am speechless to tell you the truth. A few photos, and this sweet poem my father wrote for me when I was eighteen years old ... that is what I give to you today, my friend.

Little Dreamer a poem by Herb S. Go little dreamer dream your dreams. Just remember: they're life. Find your times of happiness. Heal your wounds from strife. Dreams are for those who need and seek balms for wounds and woes. Remember little dreamer, life's dilemmas are not to you unique. So dream your dreams little dreamer. In them your happiness find. For they can become more solid and real than lurking shadows of your mind.
In this mood of reflective gratitude, I will attempt to point out a few highlights ... Dad, thank you for helping me with that nail I jumped on at the lake so many years ago. Mom, thank you for the hot chocolate, chicken soup, and grilled cheese sandwiches that made snow days magically special and cozy. Dad, thank you for all of the things you could fix ... my gosh, where did you get all those skills from? Mom, thank you demonstrating in your daily life grace of patience and a gentle touch. Dad, thank you for letting me drive the family car when I was first learning how to drive. Mom, thank you for all of those sweet dresses you sewed for me when I was growing up. Dad, thank you for sharing your writing with me and others so openly and freely -- and thank you for the thoughts they contain. Mom, thank you for teaching me how to cook. Thank you both for always finding a way to soothe my owies. Thank you both for my brothers and my sisters, they are precious to me even now. Thank you both for always making a warm, loving, and safe home for us all. Thank you both for endless, countless, too-numerous-to-mention help and supportive acts of kindness during all of my years of single parenting. Thank you both for being such wonderful grandparents and making my own children feel as loved and special as you do. Dear Dad and Mom ... thank you from the depths of my heart and the spirit that I am for life. ~firefly Copyright (c) 1975, 1992, 2008 J. L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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