Happy birthday to my chipper son Vinnie

Had 2020 been like any other year, my son Vinnie and his wife Danni would be celebrating his birthday in a New Zealand vineyard today.

Instead, despite the visas they obtained, money they saved and plans they made for this exciting move they are (and there’s really no better verb for it) stuck here, splitting their time between our cabin Up North, our house in Appleton and Danni’s family home in Bismarck, North Dakota.

While they still aim to head toward their dream jobs at some point, they are remarkably chipper about their current situation. In fact, they have been Chippering and Johanna Gaines-ing their way through our house with such gusto we hardly recognize the place anymore (and neither will Vinnie’s sisters when they see what’s become of their bedrooms).

They deep-cleaned and organized each room, a task so apparently singular it turned up some real relics, including a note written by 10-year old Charlie (who is now 33) and someone’s middle school diary. Then they primed and painted each room, stripped and sanded a giant old dresser and moved large pieces of furniture around the upstairs like a couple of bruisers.

We’re still midway through this spontaneous remodel and I’m so impressed with the results. Sometimes, Vinnie’s ready smile and easy charm belie his impressive work ethic, and Danni is the same way. They are extremely task-oriented and still know how to have fun.

This is the second time in this confounding pandemic that I have been blessed by some temporarily clipped wings and a return to our ready nest and I am so incredibly grateful for this time.

Today, as I serve our stranded travelers some New Zealand wine and the requested birthday banana cream pie, I will be thankful for every imaginary candle on that pie and every precious year they represent. (Imaginary because, gross! What were we thinking having people blow germs all over the tops of our delicious baked birthday treats and then dishing up pieces to everyone? 2020 has taught me a lot and not just how to wash my hands more thoroughly).

Today, though, is all about joy and a sense of gratitude I can barely contain for the gift of my son and his beautiful (and very handy) bride.

Happy birthday, Vinnie! We love you.

Vinnie and Danni (pictured here in our garage) have spent hours and hours on a spontaneous renovation of two rooms in our house, prepping, painting , hauling, moving, planning, cleaning and restoring. We have been helping them a lot, by staying out of their way.
They clean up nicely too. 🙂
One of my favorite pictures of Vinnie, because of the smile and the Oreo cookie crumbs under his bottom lip.
This is Vinnie practicing the jitterbug with his older brother Charlie ahead of a very important occasion in January of 2019…
…his grandma’s 80th birthday. For that occasion, he wore the old wool letterman sweater his grandpa gave his grandma, even though he is allergic to wool sweaters. And then…
He danced with his Grandma.
Happy birthday Vinnie! We love you THISMUCH! (How hilarious is it that Katherine always finds the camera?)

12 thoughts on “Happy birthday to my chipper son Vinnie

  1. I love the temporary clipped wings analogy. I have one with those same wings right now. You made me smile as I thought of his current situation and you reminded me there are so many young adults in this holding area. Thanks for reassuring me it is okay to be there. ❤️

  2. Happy Birthday Vinnie! I will always remember your awesome performance as Raul in Phantom of the Opera at Appleton North. It really doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago. When this pandemic struck, life dealt us all a bunch of lemons; yet you and Danni have found a way to make a huge quantity of lemonade. I wish you the very best on your eventual planned move to New Zealand. Meanwhile celebrate your special day.

  3. Vinnie doesn’t know me but I creepily and enviously followed him on his California bike trip on Instagram. I wasn’t envious because I wanted to do the bike trip but envious because he wanted to and achieved it. I have a few rooms that they can “stay in” if they are looking for more work, oh, I meant to say a place to stay. I don’t know what his perspective is of his situation, but my perspective is he is making memories that he will share with his grandchildren.

    1. I am envious of that trip too (though there’s an upscale jogging trek through wine country that appeals to me more. You jog between luxurious resorts and your stuff gets portaged and you eat gourmet food every night.) Anyway, thanks for the perspective John. These are crazy times and I admire people who are making the best of them.

    1. Merry Christmas to you too Kevin! Thanks for reading my blog. (I would love to write one about you and your fascinating career).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.