|Mario with Joe and David (on bottom)|
One of the most beautiful traits of David, our first-born son, is that he finds a way to connect with everyone.
When I talk about him in the third person (like I just did), I always say that David is “our first born”. I was not present when he was born; I had not yet graduated from high school. Mario was married to Cathy, David’s mother when David was born. He was happy and playful; a joy to everyone; smart as a whip; and generally the center of attention wherever he went.
He was only five years old when Cathy and Mario separated. I met him at the tender age of six, and I loved him right away.
I had been working for his dad (Mario) in 1986; and the first time I saw David I started laughing. He looked just like his father, and I said so. This made him warm up to me, and he walked into my portion of the office instead of Mario’s.
“Leave Janet alone, she has work to do,” Mario teased. David looked up and him and then back to me. “Come on David…”
“He can stay here,” I offered, bringing out a ream of paper and different colored pens. Joe, his brother, kept his distance, but David seemed eager to connect with me. “Do you want to color with us, Joe while your Dad makes phone calls?” Soon, David, Joe and I were drawing pictures; Mario was finished in about half an hour. That was the first memory I have of meeting my future step-sons– coloring pictures at my desk.
It took awhile, but David, Joe and I started seeing a lot more of each other. Mario and I were inevitable - destined to be together. David and Joe were part of his package deal; Vince was part of mine. Blending our little families together meant learning to love each other and live in harmony.
|David at our first computer - the Kaypro 1987|
Proficient at computers at a young age, David was also a whiz at math. He loved the reasoning of patterned things, and I marveled at this. He grew quickly. We played games together, especially trivia games where we warred to see who knew more. As a teen, he started riding bulls, which terrified me; I learned how to keep my mouth shut. He graduated from high school, went off to college and then learned UNIX, which changed his life. A series of crazy girlfriends drove me nuts and caused my prayer life to take on new forms; then he met his wife, who I treasure. His girls made us grandparents – Laila, Lilli, and Lauren – they stole our hearts and made us grow. His career takes him all over the world; he has become kind of an export on software and hardware set-ups for international businesses. I am proud, but not surprised.
With all of this life experience, both terrible and wonderful, David is not bitter. He still maintains a playful, wonderful attitude that makes people love being around him. He seems game to connect with everyone and can usually find something in common with anyone in the world.
I always wanted to be the parent that was there for my kids; I don’t know if I’ve succeeded. BUT God has done something amazing in David – he has made a son who is there for his parents. This year, especially, David has shown us that family is more than just phone calls and holiday visits. Mario lost his brother, Stephen, to cancer in June. He decided to make a trip to Iowa to connect with Stephen’s family, to grieve. Since finances were especially tight (we had just returned from seeing our Grandson, Harvey, be born), I could not go with him. David quickly offered to accompany Mario and they set out on a road trip, driving from Kansas City to the Iowa/Illinois border.
|David with Delaney and Kamryn in June|
When I spoke with Mario over the phone, he told me how well things were going. “If it weren’t for David, I don’t know what I’d be doing. He is the bridge.”
Apparently, my niece’s daughters are similar ages to David’s daughter’s and he knew every communication point, connection (and phone app) that interested them. Just like David to connect us all together.
Not long after, he joined his Dad and Joe for a father-son backpacking trip, which nearly killed all of them. "Thank God for David," Mario told me when he returned home. "He kept cracking jokes, which made us all laugh. Even when we were dying, we were laughing!"
My step-son is more than a step-son. He is mine in a way that only other step-parents can understand. He is a wonder and a beautiful part of my heart.
Today David turns 36. (WHAT???!!!)
Thank God he is not riding bulls anymore. Thank God he found Lennae. Thank God I love his mother and we are friends. Thank God he loves me as his step-mom and always has.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Son!! You are one of the greatest blessings in my life. I am a woman that has been very richly blessed.
| July 2015|
David, Harmony, Alicia, Me, Alannah, Mario and Joe