Thursday, December 29, 2016

Birthdays and Butterflies

“The butterfly effect is very interesting,” Pop Pop tells us as he heaps a serving of potatoes onto his plate.
“I’ve heard of that,” Jack chimes in. “It’s the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings could alter the path of a hurricane.” You just never know what the topic of conversation might be when you visit with Pop Pop and Grammy Carolyn. One day it’s quantum physics, the next day it’s baseball. Today is my birthday and, as I reflect on the past year and look ahead, I’ve been thinking about our conversation about the butterfly effect, in which small changes in initial conditions can lead to big and unpredictable results.
2017 is shaping up to be a year with quite a bit of wing fluttering. Katherine is learning to drive while Jack considers his college choices. I am hoping to complete my Endorsement in ESL this spring, so I could look for a new job teaching English Language Learners. Big Pa will start radiation to fight the cancer tumors in his body. Our niece is planning her wedding. It’s a lot. It’s exciting, and scary, and exhilarating to move into a year with so many milestones and unknowns on the horizon. It makes me teary-eyed with gratitude and sappy with nostalgia to reflect on how short, and precious, life is.  
That may be why the little book of “150 Love Notes” caught my eye as I was shopping for gifts at The Paper Source. I bought it as a birthday present to myself. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to deliver these notes throughout this year to friends and family. To help them realize that, whether they know it or not, they fluttered their wings, and made a difference in my life. 

A little birthday fun at Mount Vernon.