I’m older now than I’ve ever been before

Published 9:55 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I have to face the facts. I’m getting older.

Five years ago this week I reconnected with an old college friend. She’s been my wife for over 3 1/2 years now. Between the two of us we have five children, ages 13 to 23.

(Happy anniversary, my love.)

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My children are involved in all kinds of things that prove they’re growing up more and more — college, jobs, house, plays, high school band, etc. But there’s one particular upcoming event that has me sighing.

My younger son is getting married in less than two weeks.

His fiancée is a beautiful, sweet young woman. They have common beliefs, interests and desired career paths. I fully believe God directed them to one another and that they were “meant to be.”

But this young man — who will soon hold her hand and promise to be fully dedicated to her for the rest of his life — is still my little boy.

Devon’s not a big fella like his dad. He’s shorter and built wiry tough like his grandfathers.

I used to walk him and his older brother to daycare in New Orleans. His brother would ride ahead of us on his tricycle down the broken sidewalk. Devon would ride on my shoulders. Often he would lay his head down on top of mine, and be sound asleep before we were halfway there.

When he was about 7 years old, he would collect rocks from our gravel driveway and sell them to drivers of passing cars that he would wave down as he stood by the mailbox. He took things apart and — most times — put them back together so that they still worked, or worked even better.

He loved soccer because he could run the whole time, but baseball bored him so much he’d play with whatever he found in the grass or keep the ball if it came his way until he was forced to give it up. He had no patience for piano lessons but had a gift for music that drew him to every instrument he could get his hands on.

He’d go out of his way to help someone else and get angry if he thought someone wasn’t being treated fairly. He once spent two weekends helping someone he didn’t previously know fix a fence because he saw the elderly man struggling to do it by himself as Devon was driving by.

He visits his grandparents every chance he gets because he knows he won’t have that opportunity forever. He doesn’t live close to his bride-to-be so he leads them in Bible study and prayer via computer at a preset time each night.

I’m proud of him. And though I won’t be “giving him away” I’ll probably cry during the service. I’m not too ashamed to admit it.

I don’t know if they’ll have children — but if they do, I’m getting ready to be a granddad. I’m spoiling other people’s kids right now as practice. If being a grandparent is the price of getting older, I’m cool with that.

Heck, if getting another daughter is what comes with it, I love that. Arianna will soon be part of the Campbell Clan.

One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, wrote, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

And you never know what life will bring you, or where it will take you. Ozzy Osbourne was asked, “Did you think you’d be a rock star?”

He answered, “I wanted to be a plumber.”

I am neither rock star nor plumber, but I’m not where I thought I’d be 25 years ago. And that’s a good thing,

Yep, I’m getting older. But it beats the alternative.

Now excuse me. I need some more Tylenol for my arthritis.

Lifestyles editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com or 601-265-5307.