Mad for…Bill

Happiness springs from doing good and helping others. -Plato

Day 110 of 365: Bill Beck

Sitting atop the broad shoulders of her grandfather in this photo is my youngest niece, Ellie. Just below her stands her big sister, Maddie and her “Nana”, Irene. Admittedly, this photo is a few years old, but it is my absolute favorite picture of Bill Beck. The joy on his face as he holds little Ellie is palpable.

Bill is a terrific father and grandfather. He celebrated his birthday this week, and so I am a couple days late to honor him with a little love in my “Mad for 2019” series, but as we all should know by now, I believe in festival-style celebrating of birthdays, so I’ve decided to extend the celebration! After all, there are SO MANY reasons to cheer the life of Bill Beck!

My sister married into the Beck family a number of years ago. Her in-laws, Bill and Irene, are phenomenal humans in copious ways. For instance, they run a charitable trust that is committed to helping those in need. Depaul University, multiple community food pantries, schools serving low-income youth, and many other worthy charities have been recipients of their generosity. I could write a myriad of articles about the way they contribute positively and make a difference for others.

Today, however, as I look to honor Bill a touch with my words, I find myself grateful mostly for the witness of love and affection he has shown to the people I love. Bill’s son, Chris, married my sister, Robin a number of years ago. Like his Dad, Chris is an integrity-filled person and I am so pleased to call him family. Their two girls, Maddie (15) and Ellie (12) are treasures. Here’s the thing. Not every grandparent takes the time to engage in the lives of their grandchildren as Bill has these two lovely ladies. He’s been beyond supportive and kind. He is sunny and present for them ALWAYS. It’s been a great comfort to me all these years to know with certainty that my sis and her family have phenomenal people nearby who truly love and care about them.

It’s not been all about dance recitals, CYO games, or school plays either. When Robin needed to move out of her house in the suburbs due to health problems, there were “Bill and I”, graciously taking them into their home until the storm passed. Their physical nearness and compassionate natures have always been a huge aid to me when it comes to accepting the fact that my only sis, along with Chris and the girls, are a skosh too far away for my liking. When we know that those we love are happy and cared for where they live, it provides both solace and peace of heart.

So, this week, Bill, as your birthday is celebrated, I wanted you to know that I am ever so grateful for you! Your goodness has always been apparent in my every interaction with you. You even went out of your way to give some great professional advice to my own kiddo a few months back, and that was beyond the call of duty. The way you live your life makes me think of the words of Anne Frank who said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” How true!

What I am trying to say is that you, Bill, make such a positive difference to all in your path I am WAY OVERDUE to say THANK YOU! You are an authentic and character-filled human being. Here’s hoping your BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL continues on through the end of the month…because your life is certainly worth celebrating! You change the world with your joy and your smile. Happy Birthday!

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