dan baby   mike disney   IMG_4969 (2)

The Byrne family has experienced some big changes over the past 8 weeks. Our oldest son Dan and his wife had a beautiful baby boy. They named him John Patrick and I am completely humbled to think they would name their child after me – wow! Dan and his wife Liz are 23 years old and in some ways I wondered if they were entering parenthood sooner than desired. Now that I’ve seen them as happy parents and held  the little, perfect bundle of joy, I wouldn’t wish it any other way.

Our 2nd oldest son Michael started a semester long internship with the Walt Disney College Internship Program in Orlando, Florida. It is his first experience being ½ way across the country on his own in a very fast paced, exciting environment. Michael is an intelligent young man, has a heart of gold, and possesses a strong love for Disney – so this internship seemed to be an answer to all our prayers and the perfect experience for him. I expected he would do fine but wasn’t sure ‘how much better than fine’ he would do. He just completed his 11th day in Florida and all reports are ‘thumbs up’! The other night we pressed him into trying to learn what might ‘not be going so well’. He paused and said, “I can’t think of anything that isn’t going great. I’m loving everything here.  It is fast paced and there is a lot to remember but I’m handling it well and everyone is so helpful and supportive.” While he has been gone less than 2 weeks, we can already sense a higher level of calmness, confidence, and maturity than we have ever sensed before. Thank you God! Thank you Walt Disney World!

We dropped off our 3rd son Thomas at DePaul University in Chicago yesterday. I feel like I won the lottery with our children – they are wonderful people. Moving into the heart of Chicago has to be a bit of a culture shock to a young man who grew up in a bedroom community in Iowa but in a little over 24 hours we are receiving every indication that Thomas’ college career is off to a wonderful start. He is getting along great with his roommate, having fun with school orientation activities, and excited to blaze his own trail in college. He has texted and called a few times thanking us for the opportunity to be at such a great school and for being a support network for him.

It will be a different year for those of us left behind. We now have only two remaining at home – the children don’t outnumber us anymore – Yeah!  We will continue to enjoy our experience of living with and being with our two youngest. We do miss being with our older sons but it is so exciting to see them venture out into the world and rewarding to see them experience success. This growth would not have happened under the protective environment of our comfortable home. The boys know they are ‘on their own’, responsible for themselves, and making good decisions. Have they or will they make mistakes? Absolutely! (So have I). They are experiencing great new beginnings at the young ages of 23, 21, and 18.

You and I can experience similar excitement and fulfillment by moving out of our comfort zones – what is waiting for you? Going back to college or grad school? Jumping out of an airplane? Moving to your dream destination? Having babies? Grandbabies (little less control over that decision)? Writing a book? Starting a business?

A very good friend of mine introduced me to a quote from Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” The daring adventures my three sons have recently experienced have brought our family much joy and happiness.

Success is pursuing new beginnings.