Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Love of my Life

Mike is 44 today.  He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Jane and Davis Plunkett, and I am so thankful he was born.  Throughout our history I have often marveled that we met at all.  He grew up in Louisiana, the son of an oil man, they moved a lot.  How glad I am that they settled back into Tulsa just in time for me to meet and fall in love with their son.  I was 17 and he was 19. That was nearly 25 years ago.

As I watch the news out of Moore, Oklahoma today, I am reflecting about how lucky I am.  When a tragedy strikes you stop and do an inventory of sorts.  The meter of what is important in life is re-calibrated.  The small things disappear and you see clearly what is most important.  That I was able to wake up this morning on my husband's birthday to a family that is healthy and intact, is priceless.  That my girls do not know the terror of going through a tornado, I am so grateful.  That they thought it was a game of sorts to pile bike helmets and extra shoes and flashlights into our bathroom, is good for my heart.   

Everything I have, I owe to this man.  My beautiful daughters and the wonderful life we share are all because of him.  He is the quiet strength behind our family.  He has been by my side through depression, illness, loss, sadness, national and personal tragedies, transitions, change, mind-numbing repetition, happiness, love, births, and indescribably joy. 

On a sailboat there is part that extends from the hull of the boat down into the water, called the keel.  It keeps the boat from tipping over.  It converts sideways motion into forward motion.  It also acts as ballast to stabilize the boat.  Mike is my keel.  I am flailing about with the direction of the wind, swinging this way and that.  And Mike is steadily and surely keeping me from toppling over.  Without him, I would be lost.

I wrote letters to Lucy and Emma this spring and had one in the works to Mike but hadn't found the right time to publish it.  I thought I might wait until our anniversary, but now seems like a good day.  As the tragedy that has occurred here in Oklahoma reminds me, don't put off telling those around you how much you love them.

Dear Mike,
Thank you for loving me.  I know I can be a bear to love and you get scratched up from time to time, but I wanted you to know how grateful I am that you have loved me all these years.  There is no one I would rather grow old with than you.  (Preferably on a sailboat.)  You are my comfort in times of tragedy.  You share my joy in times of happiness.  You are my steady partner in the mundane moments of everyday life as well.  You are my best friend and partner.  I feel safe with you.  I love the life we share.

Your mom would be so proud of the father and husband that you are.  She would be filled with emotion watching you with your girls.  I wish she could see the tenderness with which you kiss your girls goodnight.   I wish she could have seen you rock them as babies.  I wish she could have met them.  She would be so pleased with the way you take care of us and the life you have built for us.  That you have continued the family tradition of sailing would have made her very happy.  She would also LOVE to taste your cooking!  I hope you know that she is proud of you.

I am proud to call you my husband.  You work so hard and you give so much to so many people.  Thank you for teaching our girls about work ethic and perseverance.  Thank you for modeling hard work, honesty and integrity for our children.  You are loved by three very talkative, loud, smarty-pants girls.  I hope you feel the love every single day that we have for you.  Please know that we could not make it without our rock, my husband, their father.  You are the world to us.

Yours - always have been, always will

PS.  You've never looked better!

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