Today I celebrate the birth of my best friend. He turns 33 today. I can still remember celebrating his 18th birthday. For the last 15 and 1/2 years, we have celebrated many occasions – birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries of many sorts, the birth of a few children, thanksgivings. Each and every year, his birthday rolls around and immediately he says not to make a big deal and to treat it like a normal day. He tells me and the kids not to stress ourselves over getting him gifts or doing anything special for him. He says it’s enough that we love him. This attitude towards his birthday is reflective of his attitude towards life. He gives and gives and gives – sometimes almost to a fault. His happiness revolves around taking care of me and the kids and then himself. I constantly remind him that life will not fall apart if he chooses to be selfish – in fact, I encourage it. But somehow, he is wired to have this purpose in life: to make sure his family comes first.
He has rearranged his work schedule with the birth of our fifth to ensure he can drop off #1 and #2 in the morning, pick up #3 at lunch to take her to school, and pick up all 3 in the afternoon. His free time consists of running a volleyball club which in the beginning was for our oldest daughter but now he takes pride in coaching and being a positive athletic influence on the kids. For example, this past weekend the club attended a tournament in Barrie. He took two teams – my daughter’s team and another team who is a year older. In the past two tournaments, he had focused on our daughter’s team for obvious reasons. But this time he felt that the other team needed him and he devoted all his time and energy to these girls and barely saw our daughter throughout the tournament. She wanted him with her but he explained to her the value of commitment which he made to the entire club and to the development of all the girls. It was a difficult decision for him but he knew the impact even one tournament could make on this team. When he’s not coaching, he’s at home replacing light bulbs, grocery shopping, cooking, blogging, filming, listening to #2 read, helping with homework, carrying #5 in the wrap, giving piggy back rides, changing diapers, giving baths, tucking them in their beds, paying bills, and taking out the trash among other things. After all that and when the kids are in bed, he’ll look me in the eye and ask me about MY day and how I’M feeling. Then he’ll take the baby so I can get some sleep before the next feed.
Today, I celebrate YOU. Just YOU and the boy I have watched grow into the greatest dad and a truly good man. I appreciate each and every little thing you do for us – from making sure my gas tank is always full (literally and figuratively) to being our sole source of financial support giving me the opportunity to be home with our kids. Your work ethic is incomparable and you deserve more credit than you give yourself. The kids ADORE you – #1 loves her time with you at volleyball, #2 cherishes her early morning routine with you (getting up and hanging out with you before the rest of the house gets up), #3 could just give you “movie kisses” all day, and although #4 is normally attached to me, she lovingly runs to you to change her diaper 😉 And of course, there’s #5:
Thank you for showing me how to see the best in people when I believe in the worst. I am grateful for that day almost 16 years ago when we met through a high school fashion show. I am grateful for every day since then. I am grateful that our girls will see that there are men out there like their father and for our son to see the kind of man that he can be.
I love you…still.
And from the kids:
(#4 was not in the mood.)