Do you remember being 25 years old? I remember my 25th birthday vividly, as well as the year that followed. Birthday-to-Birthday, it was an eventful year. It started by celebrating my 25th birthday with Brad. We were dating at the time. We traveled from Tulsa to visit with his parents as they wintered in South Padre, Texas. There is a fabulous red snapper fishing story that I will save for another time! That summer, Brad transferred to Seattle with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I found a job sixty days later and joined him in Seattle. We got engaged on the Oregon coast on Halloween. We married in Maui on New Year’s Day. And for my birthday (Valentine’s Day), we found ourselves on an adventure in Homer, Alaska. Pretty incredible year.
Today, Grayson celebrates his 25th birthday. I can only imagine what the year ahead holds for him. And as for the entire life that lies ahead, my mind cannot begin to conjure the details. So, instead I turn my focus to today – and helping him take stock in this very moment. Who knows … a year from now, life could look very different! Grayson – here is how I see you at 25:
The elephant in the world must be acknowledged. Everyone we know has been impacted by this pandemic. Grayson will readily admit that he has learned more than a few things about himself during this time of social distancing. Back in March, he was living in San Antonio. With a work transition already underway, Grayson’s roommate moved out mid-month. This quickly left Grayson longing for company. His pending move to Houston had him contemplating living alone. It didn’t take long for him to realize that living alone during a pandemic was not the way to go. He’s now living with two fraternity brothers (both a year ahead of him) and loving life. One roommate has the same employer as Grayson. The other is a golf pro (see below).
Grayson adopted Breck as he was graduating from OU. This constant companion has been his lifesaver at times. She’s absolutely perfect. He selected her from a breeder when she was only days old. He had no way of knowing that she would be a miniature – weighting less than forty pounds when typically boxers are in the 60 lbs. range. She has a sweet disposition and Grayson has trained her well. She is the perfect size for apartment living. She travels well, and she gets along beautifully with other dogs. Breck influences Grayson’s every decision – including where he lives, who he lives with, who he dates, where he goes after work, and how he plans his weekends.
Grayson graduated from OU three years ago with the intention of going to law school. He had been accepted at OU Law, paid his deposit, and signed a lease to rent a house with three fraternity brothers. Life was looking good! That summer, Brad, Cooper, Delaney and I were sitting in an AirBNB in Italy when we received a “I need to talk” text from Grayson. A follow-up telephone call revealed that he had been offered a job that really intrigued him, and that he wanted to put law school on the back burner. Fast-forward three years, and that continues to look like an excellent decision. First, he can’t imagine graduating from law school in the middle of a pandemic! Second, Apache has been a great employer. He’s learned so much, grown professionally, developed a niche, proven himself valuable to the team, and truly embraced ‘adulting.’ The oil and gas business is not for the faint at heart, but Grayson is proof that slow and steady wins the race.
To meet Grayson now, one would think he was born and bred in the state of Texas. He has assumed total allegiance to his adopted state. Country music. Cowboy boots. Ranches. Rodeos. Hunting. Work hard. Play hard. Southern manners. Beautiful women. Conservative values. BIG in all ways. Grayson loves every bit of it.
Exercise and Golf
If you’re looking for Grayson these days, you’ll find him in the gym every day and on the golf course as much as time will allow. Healthy lifestyle and overall fitness are important to him. And as far as golf is concerned, practice makes perfect and that is his endeavor. The phrases I hear most often are: Bombing it off the tee. Striping. Striking the ball well. The best golf of my (short) life. But don’t ask about his putting.
Grayson has always gravitated towards one or two close friends. Being in a fraternity in college expanded that trusted circle somewhat – and it has been fun to see how these friends bring out different characteristics in him. He’s a good son and always sends me a picture when more than one is gathered. Whether it is just a quick dinner on the town or a wedding back in Oklahoma, I love to see them together. My favorite thought of the moment is the current PC 13 Happy Hour zoom call taking place during COVID. Wouldn’t I just love to secretly hear that! There’s a rumor that someone is taping … perhaps to reminisce, perhaps for a little blackmail leverage.
Have my kids always gotten along? No. Has Grayson always thought that being the oldest child was fair? No. Has Grayson always been supportive and encouraging of his brother and sister? No. But somewhere along the line, that all changed. Now you will find Grayson thrilled for and proud of his siblings. He’s so excited to have Cooper also declaring his love for the state of Texas. He was certainly pulling for UT during the law school search. And as for Delaney, he shakes his head in amazement as she continues to rack up superlatives on her way to OU. There’s not an ounce of resentment or jealously. He’s genuinely excited for their success and opportunities. He’s just as invested in their future decisions as Brad and I are. It’s so fun to see his excitement and witness the encouragement he showers on both of them.
Say what you will about kids walking away from God during college or struggling to make it a priority once they are young adults – I just haven’t seen it in Grayson. And it’s a God-thing to be sure! Brad and I take no credit. Sure, we tried to give him a solid foundation with God in the home, church, and a Christian education. But, plenty of people do that. Somewhere, his faith became his own. In college, he adopted his cousin Rob’s mantra that he needed to see a girl at the gym, the library, and at church before he would consider asking her on a date. Plus, group prayers at chapter Beta meetings while at OU and weekly bible studies at work when he entered the real world certainly helped. There has always been someone divinely placed that has invited him to church or a church-related activity. And his heart has been receptive. He knows that he is lavishly loved by God – and by his mother.
All the years coaching, training, modeling, and expectations have paid off. When I think of Grayson, I see a man who says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. I know there is eye contact and a firm grip behind that handshake. I know that he knows your first and last name, and probably the name of your spouse/significant other, where you are from, and a tidbit or two just to keep the conversation rolling. I know he’s holding open doors and allowing people to go in front of him. I know he’s handwriting thank you notes. I know he’s using that smile to make you feel like a million bucks.
Yes, Grayson Barghols – I am beaming with pride. You are a wonderful son. You are a fabulous human being. You are disciplined. None of this – career, exercise, golf, family, friends, God – work unless you are diligently making it happen. And you are immensely blessed – which you know, and which drives you to do good things. I know you have spent your birthday playing golf, surrounded by good friends and your gorgeous girlfriend, walks with Breck, social media shout-outs from your siblings, and text messages from those near and far. I pray that the year ahead is filled with more blessings than you can count … but try to anyway!
much love now and always,