Publisher’s Corner

A Proud Father Passes The Baton

I am writing this just days before the wedding of my first born daughter, Natalie. It seems only yesterday that I was spitting cotton balls out of the mouth of a Muppet hand puppet and making her laugh. Or she would scold the puppet for trying to bite her. “Don’t bite me,” she would say, not sure if bright yellow muppet was acting on his own or controlled by the mad puppeteer. Seems like a week ago Tuesday I was literally bouncing Natalie and her sister Stephanie on my knees in a ruckus version of Horsey. And that was actually 17 years ago Tuesday. And it was so funny watching her trying to blow out her first birthday cake candles, creating more of a spitting F sound than the required puff of air. We’ve got it on video for all the world to see if necessary. A pudgy baby girl grew up into a beautiful 6-foot woman before my eyes. Always with an attitude and a sense of determination. She has dabbled successfully in music, enjoyed theater and has met the man of her dreams. Thespians both. Kindred spirits and soon to be husband and wife. A lifetime of squeals, shrieks, laughter and tears. And then they grow up on you. They no longer call you “daddy.” You are now just “Dad.” Once I was worshiped, admired and sometimes feared. Now I am the one who is sometimes afraid, as we always fear for the safety and future for our kids. I finally am getting the son I always wanted. Although at 6’ 2” and 230 lbs. I doubt I will be bouncing him on my knee. His name is Ben, and he is a good man. Now the caretaker of my first born. I hand the baton of love to him, which comes with the responsibility of calming her fears when she’s frightful, rejoicing with her in her triumphs and just being there when she needs you for whatever. It’s the “whatevers” in life that challenge all of us and test our metal. In a marriage, the daily “whatevers” and how we deal with these unknowns, is the test of true love. This very morning my wife Niki and I were watching a mother bird feeding her chicks in the birdhouse outside our kitchen window. I kept thinking about Natalie getting married and leaving the nest and wondered if the momma and papa sparrow were feeling what Niki and I feel. A mixture of happiness sprinkled with just a wee bit of sadness. All parents must feel this. It is a right of passage and so it must be. A time to celebrate and cheer Natalie and Ben. And as my favorite philosopher will someday say and I say to you both now, “Live Long and Prosper.”

Other than Natalie’s’ wedding, there are a few other wonderful events coming up in June. The Healthy Planet is the proud sponsor of the Vitamin Expo at Whole Foods Market, June 22-23. Find out which supplements are best for you for optimal health. There are some great Nutrition Support Classes as well. See the back page for details. And make sure you visit the Missouri Botanical Garden for the Lantern Festival this summer. And the St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival is at Ball Park Village this year June 15-17. See our Happenings section for all the events coming up.

Father of the Bride, J.B. Lester; Publisher