My wife and I recently attended our friend Emily’s 50th birthday party, and we had a great time. It was obvious her husband, Rudy, spent considerable time and investment planning this event. We had options of beef, chicken, and pork fajitas!

Yes … the theme was Mexican, which also means the mariachis must play!  Dulce and I were fortunate to find a table with other Holy Spirit parishioners, and we were also blessed that Fr. Carlos Velázquez sat with us. We have known Fr. Carlos since his days leading Holy Spirit Catholic Church, and today he serves as Rector of the San Fernando Cathedral.

Family and Friends

My guess is nearly 100 people attended Emily’s birthday. She invited a fair number of friends and co-workers from Holy Spirit Catholic School, where she has taught and held leadership positions. 

Not surprisingly, many of the guests were her family members. Both her parents and in-laws were in attendance. Many of her family and friends were from her hometown of Corpus Christi.

The margaritas were on the house, which made the evening even more festive!

Remembering the Moments

I’ve been on the northside of 50 for several years now, and I sometimes think about what the future holds as I get older. As fast as these thoughts cross my mind, however, I remind myself that I need to focus on where I am today.

I need to appreciate my family, friends, and the good health the Lord has provided me. There is nothing I can do to stop the seconds from ticking away, but I have full control over how I handle what I value the most.

Here are some ways I can appreciate the important stuff:

  • My wife and I can enjoy a lunch or dinner together, and we don’t have to wait for a milestone to make it happen. This time together is even more valuable because we are not waiting for a reason to enjoy each other’s company.
  • Instead of telling my son I am busy with work, I can join him in the swimming pool, where we can play a few games of water basketball.
  • Instead of watching a game on TV, I can invite the family on a movie date. If we don’t want to leave the house, we can watch the movie here at home.

In each of these situations, I notice that my commitment to appreciating life is intentional. Experience has taught me that the beauty of life can only be appreciated when we are fully engaged in the moment.

On the drive home from Emily’s party, my wife mentioned that getting older has been on her mind. Like any other parent, it’s hard thinking the children will someday leave the house to create their own lives.

In some ways, I think our children will never leave.

In fact, the more we teach the value of love, respect, and kindness, the more likely we will always be part of their lives as they practice these beautiful values with others.

As I ponder the thought of growing older, I realize the key to truly enjoying and appreciating life is to take time for loved ones.