Today is my niece Genevive’s first birthday


She is one year old.

And she has the most gorgeous hair. It’s soft and silky and wavy. She has
a deep, thick, curly “curl” that I have no idea how to do. But it doesn’t
matter, because she has it now and it’s perfect. Her mommy and me and the
baby doll we bought for her when she was born.

She smiles at everyone she sees. She smiles at the dog when she eats the
food we give her. She smiles at me, she smiles at grandma. She smiles so
often at us that even I sometimes forget she doesn’t smile at everyone.

So what, you might be asking.

She is a beautiful person with a huge smile, but she is very far from
perfect. It’s pretty sad.

When I woke up today, I was happy. And I’m grateful for that. I am grateful
for my two amazing parents who always made me feel loved and special, even
when they didn’t deserve it. I was grateful for my beautiful little niece
who is perfect just the way she is and would never have chosen to have
somebody just a little less than perfect.

I am grateful for Genevive.

You wouldn’t even know that she has any imperfections.

And I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to be with my wife’s
family in Bali last August for exactly 40 days. Because just the 40 days in
Bali were worth it.

Here’s what happened…

I saw a beautiful girl at the top of the stairs.

I smiled at her.

She smiled at my smile.

I followed her downstairs and into the kitchen.

I grabbed a banana.

I handed it to her.

She grabbed it and popped it in her mouth.

I was struck by how perfect it was. She was gorgeous.

And we were kindred souls.

What you need to know…

My first daughter was the love of my life. She was everything to me.

She was perfect in every aspect of life.

And my second was her twin sister who had a wonderful husband, two
beautiful children, and a beautiful home in the suburbs of Chicago.

They had a wonderful childhood and I was blessed to be a part of it.

They went to college. They got married. They had two gorgeous boys and
one amazing girl.

And we all had an amazing 40 days in Bali.

What you need to know…

We stayed in a Bali guesthouse with four other families.

There were seven of us in the house and each couple was to stay for at
least two weeks and have two nights each. We slept together and slept apart
in separate rooms.

We ate fresh rice and Indonesian food on almost daily bases.

We had so many nights of making love, making memories, and eating delicious
food that it is a miracle we made it to 30 days alive.

What you need to know..

We went to Bali three times. The first trip was for the week of Christmas.

The second was for five days around Easter.

And the third and final was for three days in August.

And in the days leading up to the August trip, we had a serious case of
the munchies so we went into the mountains and had a massive feast of
coconut soup, prawns, grilled fish, roasted chicken, and freshly squeezed
lemongrass from the mountain streams.

We even brought our own toilet paper with us because we thought it’d be
impossible to find in Bali.

We did that and our toilet paper was in such good condition that I gave
it to a local boy who was working as a cleaner.

I am so grateful for him.

We had a blast in Bali.

There was never a dull moment.

I went for a hike in the hills at 8:30 am and never came back.

There was a beautiful sunset every night.

There was sun, wind, and rain all in the same day with lightning.

There were beautiful people everywhere.

There were a few people that made me laugh. They had hilarious accents
and hilarious laugh lines.

There were a couple beautiful boys who made me look twice. And there was
one ugly boy that made me laugh and had a really big nose.

There were so many wonderful moments but I would have to be content with
one photo and that is what I will share here, that one photo.

We took a day to walk down the coast to the ocean.

The sky was beautiful and I was amazed at how all the different shades
of blue, orange, and purple made it look like water.

We walked down a deserted road and found the perfect photo on the beach.
I will take that.

But really, I am just sharing one photo and I will take photos like that
of the beautiful people I found everywhere in Bali.

What you need to know…

I’m glad we did this.

And I can definitely tell you that there was never a dull moment in Bali.

We had a fabulous time and I am grateful we had the chance to do this.

And I hope you would be too.

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