Why, you ask? Because today, is this special ladies' 92nd birthday!
If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Noni then you might not realize just how special she is. On the other had, if you have had just two minutes in her company, you most certainly do. Noni is probably the most unique person I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. She's just as normal as the rest of us in so many ways, but at the same time has these special qualities that make her so extraordinary.
The most obvious is her bubbly, outgoing, happy demeanor. Probably her greatest God given gift is just how darn happy she is. It just comes natural for her. Although I only met Noni thirteen years ago, I can just look at the pictures from her as a young girl and see that bubbly personality shining right through. A light that hasn't burned out a single bit after all of these years. The best part of being around her is how infectious her happiness is. I know that is exactly why she has so many friends with many of them being life long friends. If you meet Noni, you will leave your encounter just a tiny bit happier than you were before. She gives everyone just a little sliver of it to take away with them.
But maybe even more amazing than her demeanor, is how easily she loves everyone. It doesn't matter who you are, if you walk into Noni's house she will make you feel welcomed. She will make you feel included. She will make you feel special. She can put a smile on the face of anyone of any color, shape, or size. I've seen her delight children, teenagers and adults from every walk of life. Whenever anyone comes into her home they will never feel left out or uncomfortable. Over the years, I've watched her and have noticed how she has a way to hone in on the one person who is quiet or reserved and make them feel more comfortable, or bring them into the conversation, or make them the center of attention. It never fails and it doesn't take long before that person has opened up and is smiling and having a good time. Noni makes everyone feel special.
There is no doubt that Noni is a giver. She has given her whole life to her family, friends, and to charities. She helps others even still today. She told me once during WWII that she wrote "a number of boys." I can only imagine how special each one of those boys felt during those dark days of war. I know one boy in particular she made feel special for 65 years. I'm not sure who was more devoted to who, but there was no denying what a special marriage they had. I feel like at least half of the reason that Adam and I have such a wonderful marriage, was seeing and experiencing theirs first hand. They gave us a beautiful goal and a strong example of what a marriage should be. Our wedding photographer took the picture below at our wedding. He framed it and hung it in his gallery telling us when we were there "I've framed a picture from your wedding, but it probably isn't one you would think" We knew immediately which picture it was and couldn't have agreed more that it was the best picture from our wedding day. If every day for the next 65 years, we have the opportunity to remember their love, what they've taught us, and showed us. Then, I have no doubt, our marriage can be just as special.
Although today is Noni's birthday, I know it not going to be her best birthday. She has a dear friend who is very ill and at Noni's age, when so many people have passed, it can be a struggle. I wish more than anything that I wasn't 3,000 miles away. That Adam could take her out to Ruth Chris for her birthday and we could all have cake together celebrating her and Landon's birthday's together. That we could all just give her a big squeeze. More than all that though, I wish I could make her 1/1,000th as special as she's always made me feel. As she's made anyone she's ever met feel. It's impossible to show on paper, through words or even in pictures. Her friend, Helen was a happier person just for having Noni in her life. She was a blessing to her for many years, not just with all she helped her with, but also as she shared her time, her happy personality, and took the time to make her feel special too. We all are. We all feel a little more happy, a little more loved, a little more special in her presence. Each trait, be it happiness, feeling loved, or giving to others is special, but there is only thing more special that all those traits combined. That is my dear, sweet, adorable Noni who gives them all to everyone, everyday, every single time. Happy Birthday Noni!!! I love to pieces. Everyone does!!!