If it sounds glib to tell you, husband, that this is your birthday gift, that’s not my intention. I could be blithely dismissive, “well, we aren’t really the gift giving types”, and that would be true, if simplistically inaccurate. We aren’t the empty gesture types, maybe that’s more like it. We aren’t the random gadget, thing-a-ma-jig, dustcatcher in a box wrapped with paper and bow types. We are the day to day types, we are the little moments and big picture types. We know what matters. We know what doesn’t. And a string of words typed hastily while you’re reading the bedtime chapter book to the boy isn’t much. It’s not enough. But the inverse proportion of what you deserve to what I can can give you would never be enough. So, this. Like that mountain I used to drive up and over to see you several times a week when we were young and breathing each other’s breath and hanging on every word the other said, that mountain where names were spraypainted and carved in rock, where initials and hearts and names were etched by furtive strangers and seen from passing cars, this: a public display of belonging and appreciation, like shaking a can of krylon but easier on the fingers. Do you see that, world? Today is my husband’s birthday and do you know that he is terrific? Do you know he works harder than anyone I know? Do you know that I wouldn’t want to do any of this without him?
The thing about that guy of mine is that he just does stuff. I think there is nothing he cannot do. And I’m not sweet and easy, I’m caustic and suspicious and full of one-liners and eye-rolls. So I don’t mean that in some eyelash blinking, you’re my hero way. I mean it like it’s true. Like that time I watched him carry a refrigerator on his back down a flight of stairs. Or the way he just up and ran a marathon last year, with a stalwart and respectable finish time for someone who barely got any training runs in, on account of all his work and commuting and family hours. Like the way work colleagues call him superman not just for his bespectacled and broad Clark Kent appearance, but because he is like Superman. He will get it done, whatever it is. And he will do it without complaining, he probably won’t even tell you he did it. He is the person you want on your team, whoever you are and whatever you’re doing. He is that good.
So, Happy Birthday, old man. You deserve a party, a parade, a vacation, a song, the moon.