35 Years: Installment Three

Final birthday post for Mike.

Dear Mike,

Sometimes it feels like I am steering a ship and we finally have a long-term destination! I imagine this might be like a little sliver of what seeing that Statue of Liberty finally appear in the water felt like for those travelers seeking Ellis Island as their joyful destination.

So this ship, there are a lot of things to do on it. If I want it to run smoothly, I have various activities to lead like cleaning the deck, feeding the crew, that engine room business to oversee, and then sometimes there are holes to plug and icebergs to watch out for. We pick you up at the end of the week looking just as haggard, if not more so, than I do from the responsibilities you have been charged with. You are out cutting wood for this deck I clean each day and hunting and preparing that meat we pack into the freezer, and then some. We both go different directions physically each week, but we both know and trust the other to be giving it their all. For the sake of the family, with the same goal in mind at the end of the day. I know we are both doing all we can to provide the way we know best for these boys. And each other. We are burning our candles at both ends right now.

I think of it this way because when we board you onto this ship, often I am hollering like a sailor making sure all the jobs are getting done all around me. I don't always stop to thank you and tell you how awesome this cherry wood is you brought home is and how flavorful the food you worked hard for tastes. I want to relax and enjoy the sound of the waves a little more with you, instead.

I want to be better at avoiding the icebergs I sometimes hit steering this ship, but man some days it is somehow a lot bigger and harder to steer than other days. I love that you always appreciate my wacky course, even if I forgot the dry cleaning, I mean scrubbing the plank, or we have sardines for dinner, I mean hot dogs. I love that you trust I am doing my best and even though you will never know the demands of running the ship all day for several days in a row, you believe me that there are some really hard days. Sometimes harder than yours, sometimes not. I love that I don't have to work at convincing you that I need breaks and what that looks like for my needs. Even if 2,351,346,153 other moms in the world don't need any breaks and perhaps I am a mommy lightweight in comparison, you love me and trust me enough to be supportive.

I love that we are learning together how to steer this ship as copilots on the days you are home and that you can map out a different way of getting to a place safely with far less anxiety. I love that you are unshakable, stalwart, and brave. I love that you are rock solid strong on the inside and outside. I love that when we were first married you were so mad that I bought you sweat pants so you could be warm going to bed at night, that you insisted I never buy you anything. I love it because you could live off the land naked if you had to and never complain because you just need food to be happy. And your family. Nothing more, really. And I love that 3 weeks later you were still wearing those sweat pants to bed at night, so happy to be warm and finally thanking me for getting them for you and taking care of you in ways you wouldn't do for yourself.

I love that you kill every spider without question, even the small ones for me. That you admire your father and love your mother (you love and admire them both, actually, but it just sounded good to write it that way). I love that your siblings are as important to you as we are. That you helped dozens of people you didn't even know move in and out of homes in Brooklyn that were several story walk-ups; even pianos. In the summer. Never complaining once.

I love that when you are curious about something, you turn to a book or expert to learn everything you can and then store it away for no good reason at all. I love it when you work from home, watching you lead a conference call is one of the sexiest things e.v.e.r. for some reason. I love that anything goes with you in the bedroom. That pretty much rocks.....only what's with that no goats stipulation?