Today is Robert’s birthday. I wanted to write something amazing for him. Something that will show you how good he is, and kind, and funny and stubborn and generous and loyal and creative and supportive and decisive and resilient and good. Something with anecdotes so you know that I’m not just saying words, but that these things are true.
Two weeks ago he made a pot of applesauce and we had some for dinner and then I took the leftovers to work for a week. He didn’t eat a bite after that first night. I asked him if he didn’t like it, if he wasn’t as happy with it as he was with his last batch, and he told me no, he loved it, but he remembered that I once said eating applesauce is the best part of my day at work and he couldn’t bring himself to take that away from me, even for one day, by eating some himself.
Eight and a half years ago I sat on his bed and he sat on the floor going through his stacks and stacks of books, telling me which ones he loved, and tossing them in my lap. Later he gave me CDs to copy and he gave me other CDs loaded with songs that made him think of me and I listened to them and liked the way I looked to him. He rewatches movies every year, even bad ones, just because I never saw them when they came out. He leaves a dozen tabs open on the computer and makes me watch funny YouTube videos when I get home and I groan about it because I don’t even like Bad Lip Reading and Will Farrell gets on my nerves, but I shouldn’t groan because he watches them all and thinks of me. He asks my opinion on every piece of legal news he gathered over the course of a day from podcasts or Reddit or wherever else men spend their time on the internet.
Loving. I forgot to say that he is loving. And funny. He would want me to mention that one again.
He bought a Dremel and set up shop on our balcony and carved a clock for Dylan’s room. The he carved another for my sister’s boy. A few months after we bought our brand-new car, he bumped into something, a pole, a tree, I don’t know, then somebody scraped our bumper on the street, and then I gestured wildly and got pen on the ceiling, and he spent weeks banging out the dent and sanding and painting whenever the forecast was clear, and rubbed the pen out with alcohol or goof off, I don’t know. He wears motorcycle boots when he comes to church.
I went back to work last week and I was afraid that it would hurt, that I would cry on the train, or randomly in the middle of the day, and at night after putting Dylan to bed, but really it’s been easy. Not for him, but for me, because he’s home with Dylan, and he is the best dad. The best.
In fact, he’s home with her right now. It’s his birthday and I am at work, and he just texted me a picture of himself, a thermos of coffee, Dylan, and Arty, with Uncle Buck on TV. I wanted to give Robert a better birthday, because he deserves it, but I can’t because I’m here, at work. Instead I will take him out for an absurdly early dinner and hope we don’t get any dirty looks carrying a baby into a nice restaurant and then we will go home and eat cake and open gifts and he will crack a birthday beer and I will show him this post and he will get mad because he thinks it makes him look bad, but he will be wrong, because he is everything good.
Happy Birthday, love.