A Happy Birthday to My Good Son

My son and grandgirl, Madeline, who adores him.

Evan and grandboy, Oz.

Today is my son Evan’s 45th birthday and he has come through one of the most difficult years of his life shining like an airplane landing light. I won’t go into the details of his tough year because that’s private, but let me say he has shown considerable strength, grace, patience, perseverance and grit over the past year. I’m truly proud of him.

A few weeks ago, Ev got a new job in Waco, Texas. It’s a good job, one that will challenge and reward him, I suspect, but rather than simply announce to the family that they should uproot from Memphis and head out to the great Southwest, he consulted his wife and two kids.

Evan at his wedding: This is all I taught him.

It was especially important for 14-year-old Madeline, who was just beginning high school and had friends and her beloved School of Rock to leave behind. The School of Rock had one more concert planned for her band and she wanted to participate, but that would be in late September, two months away. Evan didn’t bat an eye. Maddie would get her performance, even though that meant he would have to fly back to Memphis every other week to be with the family.

It’s that kind of being a great dad that I respect most about my son, I think. I was not much of a father (I’m a great Pampa) and I look with amazement at him and how he handles and teaches his kids. He sure as hell didn’t learn that from me. But he learned it and I want to say, “Happy birthday, Ev. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s working.”

Ev and me after a day of whitewater rafting. He was about 14 and had terrible shorts.

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