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The days of our lives

The month of February is full of many birthdays in my family.  My calendar makes a note of these significant days even though I would remember them anyway.   In this particular case, four generations are remembered.

It is only fitting that my grandson, Henry Vanstone, be listed first.   He is my oldest grandchild and on Wednesday, Henry will turn 15 years old.   We will celebrate by watching him play soccer for the Bainbridge Bearcats on Tuesday, slipping him the ritual check, and giving him a keychain.

There are few milestone birthdays in Henry’s life that will bring as many changes as turning fifteen and getting his driver’s learning permit.  Though I had driven for years around the peanut mill and farm for years by the time I turned 15, having a driving permit still opened a new world for me.  

Henry’s birthday will bring some relief to his parents, as well as some scary moments.  It is a challenge for a parent to teach their child to drive.  But for that young man, he will gain independence and confidence.  He will get a glimpse of what his future world will be like.  Hopefully, in just one short year when Henry gets his driver’s license, his parents will be freed from the chore of driving him to school, soccer, and everything else that a teenager does these days.    

Two days later, it will be my Dad’s birthday.  He would be 93 if he were alive, but he remains very much a part of my life.  Though he has been gone for over 21 years, the lessons he taught me are with me every day.  Henry was his first great-grandchild.   Had “Big Dan” lived he would have welcomed three more great grandkids in the past three months with yet another one on their way.

My Granddaddy Joe would have been 113 last Sunday.   I was blessed to have known him for 45 years.  He was a huge influence in my life, and along with my other grandparents showed me the impact a person can have on their grandchildren.   I hope that I can do as well as he did.

The last birthday is coming up this week, the day between the birthday of my grandson and my father.  It turns out on February 23, 2023, I will be 25,000 days old.

Depending on how leap year falls, you reach the 25K milestone after 68 years and six months.   I have always been somewhat of a number freak and I realized this day was approaching a few weeks ago.  I have had great anticipation since then.

While most of us celebrate birthdays with cakes, cards and gifts, we do not really do much to celebrate daily milestones.  Yet, hardly a day passes without me telling someone to “Have a good day”.   

Who has not had someone tell them to just “Take it one day at a time” when overcoming some obstacle?  Anthony Hincks once said “You cannot cram a week in one day, but you can cram a lifetime of happiness into one”.  Sounds like a good motto to follow and you get to start over every 24 hours.

It seems like an oxymoron.  Life seems so fleeting, so short, so quick.  Yet sometimes, days seem like they can go on forever.  Perhaps there is a message for me as the years go by increasingly fast.   I cannot rewrite the years of my life, not that I necessarily want to.   However, I can wake up tomorrow with another blank canvas and fill that day with as much joy, kindness, and adventure as if I was Henry, only 15 years old. 

Whether you are 15 years old or 25,000 days old, look to the future.  After all, these are the days of our lives.


Dan Ponder can be reached at

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