I have a confession to make…I forgot to wish my husband, Manny, a happy birthday. What a blunder for a newlywed! Because of the magazine’s far-reaching deadlines, I’m writing this column on March 9th, which is one day after his actual birthday, but I should have included his message in last month’s column. Whoops! I’ve known Manny for over seven years, but this is the first year we have celebrated his birthday as a married couple. 

We have a birthday tradition in the Albracht Clan. I have five siblings, four and 1/2 in-laws (my sister Patte is engaged to Carl), and 11 and 1/2 nieces and nephews (my niece Amelia is engaged to Matt). Whenever it is someone’s birthday, we send out a group text to remind everyone that the special day has arrived. Then, the birthday person’s phone lights up. It was a lot of fun to watch Manny get a little overwhelmed by all the attention. My daughter, Carissa, and her husband, Ken, were also included, and they sent great messages, as well. Thank you all for making Manny’s day so special. 

I realize that coming into a large family like the Albracht Clan can be a little overwhelming. We have a lot of love to share and give. I believe the credit goes to my parents, Big Al and Anne. I have written about them a lot in this column. They were terrific parents who taught us all how to love one another. Unlike a lot of families that disintegrate after the parents have passed, the Albracht Clan is stronger than ever. Even though Mom and Dad made that transition in the early ’90s, we are all still close…and getting closer all the time! I feel that this makes Mom and Dad very happy.

Family is something that I cherish. I have done a lot of reflecting recently on what is really important in my life. The answer? Family and friends. The rest is simply “what we do.” I find total joy when I am around the people I love. My brother Steve, his wife, Ingrid, and their sons, Seth and Jesse, were kind enough to invite us over to celebrate Manny’s day. It meant a lot.

So, to be official: Happy belated birthday, Manny! I love you with all my heart. Also, happy birthday to my nephew, Seth, who celebrates his 28th birthday on March 10. Once again, an oversight!

Since we’re talking about special days, here’s one more: On April 20th, Roxy Orr, my operations manager, will celebrate her 32nd anniversary with Women’s Edition. Now…that’s family that we choose! Thank you, Roxy. See you next month!


Positive Thought of the Month

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
—Oprah Winfrey

Janet Van deWalle,
National Publisher

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