Ryan’s Dad has a twin brother, Jimmy. For as long as Johnny and I have been married, the twins have always celebrated their birthdays together. Their 60th birthday was no exception. I did not plan anything lavish as I did for their 50th when I surprised them with a golf trip to St. Andrew’s in Scotland. No…after all, turning 60 is usually downplayed as no one cares to admit their ripe old age. Of course when we stop to reflect, we realize each year is a gift.
This year, I decided to host a family celebration at the beach. So the twins and cousins packed their bags, I gathered logs for a bonfire, and off we went to our respective condo’s in Ocean City, Md. It was dinner hour when we arrived, so our first stop was the legendary GROTTO’S where our celebration began. It was December at the beach so needless to say we had the whole cozy beach bar to ourselves complete with that good Italian smell, music, balloons, pitchers of beer, and more than enough pizzas and subs. Sixty years old…what? They were clearly feeling 16 again!
Johnny and Dillon slipped away to build a roaring bonfire on the beach in 26-degree weather. With the gang sufficiently full, we all headed to the beach to continue our celebration. As we huddled together around the roaring fire, bundled in blankets and singing all generations of music, Erin noticed what appeared to be a carving in one of the logs. We all looked, we all saw, and then the goose bumps set in! As we stared into the flames with utter amazement, we read the letters of Ryan’s initials, R.L.
In an instant, subtly and so well timed, Riley had sent us a sign from heaven. Never missing a party, always holding us close, and wanting us to know he has not truly left us. Our little angel had shown us another miracle. As I choked back my familiar tears, I smiled, looked up at the twinkling stars and whispered, “Thank you for coming Rye”.