Today my beloved Danie turned 74.  He is an absolutely amazing person.  He has the wonderful ability to love and to be loved.

I met this amazing man through mutual friends 24 years ago.  It was two weeks before his 50th birthday.  I casually asked whether he was going to have a big party and he said “no”.  He was newly divorced and did not feel up to a party.  In a moment of pity I said “Well, nobody should be alone on his birthday.  If you are not doing anything pop around for a glass of wine…”

He duly popped around for a glass of wine.  After a couple of glasses of wine I asked him if he had dinner.  He said “No” and I said I would see if I could throw together a tuna salad…  I opened my fridge and it was pretty empty.  Some salad stuff, milk, apples and a couple of bottles of wine…

I managed to put a salad together but I could see the birthday boy was not overly impressed.  I was not concerned at all.  He was far too good looking and newly divorced so I did not want to get involved with him.  I had been divorced for many years and Vic was used to it just being the two of us.

I dodged all Danie’s advances for more than a year.  On the 8th of December 1989 I accompanied Danie to a black tie event.  At the function I could not help but notice the reverence his colleagues had for him.  He danced like a dream and remembered that it was my birthday at 12 O Clock….  It was truly a fairy tale night and I fell hopelessly in love.

Vic immediately sensed that there was danger!  She referred to him as “that man”…. She cried a lot and wanted to come home from boarding school.  Vic made a 360 degree turn around.   She went from wanting to go to boarding school to wanting to move home… from independent to needy… from being a difficult teenager to being an impossible teenager.

I met Danie’s children.  I was terrified!  I did not know or like children.  My life was structured, neat, organized and perfect.  I was totally committed to my career.  I had property, a business, lots of friends, a healthy bank balance and my own toolbox.  I did not need any complications in my life!!

I prayed so hard so direction… I explained to God that I was so scared of making a mistake that would affect so many people’s lives.  I asked for a clear scripture!

I opened my Bible and the scripture that jumped up at me was Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

I immediately went back on my knees and prayed again.  “God, thank you for the scripture you gave me but what about all the children?”

I opened my Bible and it fell open on page 793 of the Old Testament.  Isaiah 54:1-17 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. “

Barren? That was me…  The day after Danie’s 52nd birthday we were married.

So tomorrow this wonderful man and I will celebrate our 22ND Anniversary.  We have managed to create a “home” for our five children.  The children, I feared, I now love as my own.  Two of the four call me “Mom”.  Their children are MY grandchildren.  They allow us to be part of the children’s lives and do not discriminate between the grandmothers.  From the day we were married Vic has called Danie “Daddy”.  Danie’s four children are her siblings.  They are our infrastructure.

Danie has been so absolutely amazing with Vic and her illness.  When my dad moved in with us Danie just accepted it as part of our journey.  He was incredibly patient with my Dad who suffered from Alzheimers.  He is my back-up system.  His selfless, caring nature has allowed me to pursue my career.  I am able to travel internationally for my work as he is home…..he is my back-up.  He fetches and carries the boys.  He checks on Vic and loves her and the boys unconditionally.  He shops and manages the home in my absence.  He thinks I am beautiful and smart.

This beautiful man is more than I deserve.  I love him with every fiber of my body.  I am grateful to him for the gift of his children and grandchildren every day of my life.  I am grateful that he taught me the biggest commandment of all – love!

So tonight I salute a wonderful man, husband, father and grandfather.  He is my best friend.  He is an amazing father to Vic.  Thank you God!

He is truly “The wind beneath my wings”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9ZMDPf9hZw&feature=colike