Saturday, December 30, 2006

With Life, Comes Passing

Jesse Angelo is my new nephew's name. He has my cheeks.

Adonis and I, exhausted from driving all over, have arrived in our own home and almost kissed the carpet in thanksgiving. There is NO freaking place like home, your own home.

As I held my 4-hour-old boy in my arms, I started to cry over the beauty of newness. A new life. A person who knows nothing of the world except what arms can do. He knew nothing of wars, disease, brokenness, or pain. Jesse will love and grow and learn for himself what the world has to offer him.

Upon my return home, I checked my email and was shocked to see an email that a childhood friend of mine had suddenly died. Jeff Bird, who I grew up with, passed away unexpectedly in his home. He had family, a promising career in cancer research, and a smile that would knock your hat off.

Jeff sat in front of me in the 6th grade and he was one of my closest friends in grade school. He always picked me first in games and gym class and many teased us that we should "go together." I would have, Jeff was awesome, but I remember thinking that we had so much fun together that I didn't want to wreck it, make it awkward, and who needs to date or go together when you already get along so well. His sense of humor got me in trouble with Mrs. Daube, in whose class we loved to relentlessly gabber and laugh.

I'll never forget when he signed my yearbook in the 8th grade. As we stood in the rain, he called me "unbelievable." He wondered how I could be "so nice" to everyone. I remember thinking it was never hard to love or be nice to him. I made a remark and then laughed at his umbrella. He looked up at the sky and wrote something in my yearbook about the rain. That was my last memory of Jeff. I never forgot him.

Jeff, buddy, I'll never forget you or the time I told you to roll down your pants, our jokes about Joe-Boo, and quotes from Major League. Thanks for telling me about your heart. Thanks for making me laugh so damn hard. Thanks for our time in the rain.

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