Today is the celebration of two lives, both of whom are important to important people in my life.

As I walked into Christmas Chapel just before 11am at my sons’ school, I was keenly aware of others entering another church in Florida for an 11am service. Inside the school, I gave a hug to my oldest son’s best friend. Today is his birthday. He is eleven, and I love him dearly. So does my son. They have a friendship many adults would admire, and I have no doubt they will be friends for years. Their friendship also leant itself to one of my most cherished friendships: with his mom (and dad, and their entire family). These friendships, as we navigate parenthood – and as our boys navigate these fun middle school years – will become even more important. The boys will talk, share and lean on each other for support as their minds and bodies rapidly change. And my friend and I will talk, share and lean on each other for support as we live with these boys who are changing so rapidly!

Birthdays are a celebration of life, of the years lived and the years to come, of friendship and family.

In Florida today, at 11am, my sister-in-law of 17 years attended the funeral of her father. He passed away last week at the age of 88. As I sat in chapel this morning, moved by the spirit of children singing at Christmastime, tears welled in my eyes for a daughter memorializing her father…my sister-in-law leaning on friends and family during this celebration of life.

Dr. Harris was a wonderful father, spouse and friend: honorable, kind-hearted, loyal, a patriot….many of the same traits as the young man who turns 11 today. They didn’t know each other, but they both are gifts in the lives of those I love.

A celebration of life, of birthdays, of life-ever-after, of love, of friendship and of family. May you find all of these in your heart today and always.