Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy birthday to two gifted teachers: David and April

Today is not only my parents' 52nd wedding anniversary, but it is also the birthday of my wonderful brother-in-law David and dear friend April. (Cannily, April is married to another David! We have a lot of Davids in our lives.)


My sister Nadine met David in the PLU Fitness Center. They were both alums--she was taking a year off before heading to medical school and David had graduated several years before. At the time he was teaching in Eatonville, WA, and living in a little house in Parkland near PLU. I was living in Japan, and I will never forget reading Nadine's letter about the cute redhead she had her eyes on in the gym. She told me, "He seems really nice because he talks to the foreign students." (The "foreign student" was actually a Latin-American friend of his, not foreign at all!) They must have been eyeing each other, because finally they spoke and he asked her out. The beginning of their relationship was marked by the birth of David's niece, Samantha. (Now Samantha is about to have her own baby!)

I remember the first time I met David--it was the day I came home from Japan after living there for three years, announcing that Mike and I were engaged. At that first evening's dinner, between our very excited, talkative family and my brother Stephen's even more talkative girlfriend Yolanda, David could not get a word in edgewise! That's really the story of his life with our family, but it doesn't seem to bother him. He just listens and occasionally chimes in.
1990, not too long after they started dating
(David's the redhead on the right, with his beloved Airedale, Lance)
David is the strong and silent type. He's not really silent, but he's quiet. When he says something, it's worth listening to. He's also extremely laid back and relaxed about most things, so when he does make his opinion known about a particular subject, we all pay attention!

At Nadine's medical school graduation, 1993 or 1994
They dated for eight years before getting married, most of the time living apart, while Nadine went off to medical school in Milwaukee, WI, and doing her residency at Providence Hospital in Portland. David continuing teaching and living in Puyallup, WA.

Nadine and David's weding in 1997--that tiny babe is Chris!
Gorgeous bride and groom!
David is such a kind, compassionate, and loving man, and I'm so glad that he married my sister. I can't imagine a better partner for her. He earned his master's degree in special ed and teaches adaptive physical education to kids with severe disabilities. I've never seen him in action at work, although I would love to, but I see the way he pours out his affection and wise, calm guidance on his own sons and my sons as well. He is an amazing father and uncle, and all of the children adore him.

At the birth of their first son, Ryan, in 2001

At the birth of the twins in 2003
(Nadine had to be on bedrest for several weeks, and David was wonderful!)
It takes a special kind of man to marry a woman who makes more money than he does and doesn't let that affect his sense of self or manhood. Both Nadine and I are very lucky to have found men who support us in our careers, while also being extremely dedicated to their marriages and families...and also supporting our desire to have female-only time with each other and our friends. (Surrounded by testosterone every day in our lives, we are especially attracted to that need!)

David wearing the sunglasses we gave him for his birthday one year

With Mike and Ryan in Vancouver, BC

Fellow music lovers David and Chris
As I said, I love to tease David, and he also teases me (usually about my taste in music, which is mostly different from his). One year I bought him a memoir of Yanni for his birthday--at the Dollar Tree!--thinking that it would be a good joke. David was so polite that he actually thanked me before I told him it was a joke. He even read it and enjoyed it, so my joke didn't really work! David fits in so well with our family--I'm really looking forward to spending a week with Nadine and David and their family in California this August. It's the third time we've taken a vacation together (not counting weeks at Holden Village), and it's sure to be fun!

David loves music, guitars, college sports, working out, virgin pina coladas, eating healthy, stuffed mushrooms, working with learning-disabled and developmentally delayed people, and by far the most, his family. His guilty pleasure is potato chips. (Otherwise he is the healthiest eater I know!) I feel so blessed to have him as part of our family. Happy birthday, David!
David playing in the Hawaiian ocean last week with his boys

Nadine and David in Hawaii last week
 “We do not make friends…we recognize them.” –G. Henrichs
This is the way I feel about April, who I met a few years ago when she started attending our church, Mission of the Atonement. I remember the first conversation I had with her, at an adult forum, when I complimented her on her very stylish skirt, and she told me that she found it at a resale shop. I liked her immediately when I heard that!!
Making valentines not too long after I first met April
At a Valentine's craft party
I've written before about the gift of women's friendship and how selective I've become over the years. April and I both feel that we've known each other much longer than we have. We are both native Oregonians--she was brought up in Silverton--and she was once a writer/editor like me before answering a call to service and going back to get her master's in education. Now she's a third grade teacher. Like David, she has a true gift with children and I greatly admire both of their commitments to educating our younger generation!
On the porch with our friend Shelia at Holden Village,
where we've spent many hours getting ot know each other
April's also extremely compassionate and generous with herself and her time. This summer she is collecting gently used children's books for kids in her school who don't have enough reading material at home. She went in to our church last week to shampoo the carpets in the Sunday School rooms, and she is visiting many in our church community to get to know them better. She also offered to facilitate several brainstorming sessions to come up with ways to raise more revenue for the church.
She is one of the most welcoming people I know. If there's a new person at church, April has met him or her. She goes out of her way to get to know people on a deeper level, and she's the first one to notice if someone is feeling left out or even might be.
Making more Valentines in 2012, at the beach
Beach girls' getaway
I love April's creativity and the way she applies this to everything she touches. In the past year we've served on our church steering team together, and it has been a true gift to get to know her in a different way. She's brought fresh eyes and energy to the steering team, in addition to a constant reminder of our need to be welcoming and inclusive to strangers.

At a book-making workshop at Holden Village,
where April made a book for our pastor,
who was battling breast cancer last year
Once again on the porch at Holden, in 2012

April and Mike modeling their matching Holden Village shirts

On the ark with April and her husband David, Holden, 2012

Helping to celebrate my birthday in 2012

Evening out with Sheila, 2013
April is my newest close friend...and I feel so blessed to know her! Happy birthday, April!

1 comment:

  1. A great tribute to two wonderful human beings who enrich our lives.