(Brad and Ford head off to school)

I am very lucky in my life. Very lucky. More blessings than one person should expect. More love than I deserve.

Three of my greatest gifts are my children. There’s Brad, my eldest, who lives in Columbus with his lovely bride, Kate, and they have two sons of their own. There’s Alex, my lovely daughter, who lives in Nashville with her most wonderful husband, Evan, and they have one son of their own. And, there’s our 17-year-old William, who will soon be a Senior at Louisville Collegiate High School.

All are talented. All are so gifted. All have such bright futures. And, all are so amazing in the way they live their lives and how they treat others. If you can’t tell, I am rather proud of them all and each one of them, too.

And, to be very honest, I cannot take one ounce of credit for any of them. All I can say is that it appears that I didn’t screw them up too badly. At least not so badly that they couldn’t fix themselves, and become productive members of society and some of the best people that I know and love.

Today is Brad’s birthday. He was born on this very same day in 1985. It is mind boggling to think that it has been that long ago. It is like a time machine has zapped and warped and do what time machines are supposed to do, I guess.

It seems as if it was only yesterday that I tossed him his first plastic baseball and he ripped it so hard that the wiffle waffled and the one-time sphere ricocheted off the walls like a pinball in a machine.

It seems as if it was just a day or so ago when I watched him toss two basketballs through a rim in the 6th Grade to lift his team to victory in the league’s Championship Game. The gym packed. The crowd roaring for him to miss or make. His team behind by a single point. Only a second or two left on the clock. It all came down to this.

It seems as if was just minutes ago that I watched him graduate from Transylvania University and the two of us drove up to D.C., our nation’s capitol, for him to begin an internship with Congressman Hal Rogers. It rained so much for two days that everything he had in his possession was soaked. But, as things turned out, it was a good rain. He couldn’t tell the drops from the tears on my face.

It seems as if it was not that long ago when he first came to work for the worst lobbying firm in existence — mine — and decided to pursue a profession in the game of politics. How I tried to persuade him to go learn the job from someone else. How I pushed him towards others. How I cherish, now, every single second that he spent with me. It was the best of times.

It seems as if it was a matter of minutes ago when he and Kate had their first son, Ford, and then their second, Jack. How I see the both of them in their sons. How I see the both of them in their son’s eyes. How I see both of them in their son’s personalities. They are both sweet as candy and competitive as enemies. But they are the next generation of McLeans.

It seems it was just a few seconds ago that I looked around and Brad had his glove and wanted to go out in the back yard and play catch. It seems as if I didn’t take the time to do that as much as I should have then.

All I know is that I look at him today and I see a very successful young man with such a bright professional career ahead of him. All I know is that I look at him today and see a father who takes the time to go in the back yard and play catch with both of his young boys.

All I know, truly, is that I am blessed to have such great children in my life.

Happy birthday, Brad. You will never know how much you mean to me. You will never know how proud I am of the man that you have become. You will never know how much your Dad loves you.

Never.