Saturday, January 24, 2009

Leif's Early 23rd Birthday Celebration - Manhattan, Kansas - December 24, 1997 - Almost 23

This is quite a jump, from Leif's twelfth birthday to his twenty-third, but I've already posted photos of his fifteenth birthday snowboarding in Wisconsin, and for the other birthdays in between, I either can't find photos, or they aren't good ones for the blog, so I'm having to skip all the way here.

We celebrated Leif's 23rd birthday early, because he had enlisted in the army and had to report to for duty on January 12th (see earlier post about that, with photos). Since we were all over at my mother's for Christmas Eve, she decided that would be a good time for all of us to celebrate his birthday, too.

These photos were taken there, at her house on Pottawatomie Street, and Nikko is there with him. He was a month shy of his 23rd birthday. Up until this time, we had been together with Leif for every one of his 22 birthdays, but we would miss the actual birthday this time, as he was in basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia.

We wouldn't see him for his 24th birthday, which he spent in Fort Drum, New York, his 25th, which he spent in Bosnia, or his 26th, which he again spent in Fort Drum, New York, alone. Not until his 27th birthday would he be with family again.

Leif always enjoyed the big family gatherings at my mother's house and was animated and full of fun. I'm sure he missed them. I don't know what he was thinking during this celebration, about what his future would hold. I do know it didn't turn out as he hoped, that entry into military life.

Happy Birthday, Leif!

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