I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. You were already up. My body was leaden and my mind twisted with too many thoughts, but then I heard voices and footsteps. The sweet thunder of our girls bounding down the steps. “Happy birthday, Daddy!” they crooned. Oh did I smile. Swung my legs over the side of the bed. Got up. Made my way down to all of you in my blue pajamas. The girls tackled you with hugs. Even though it’s your day, you made me a cup of coffee.
I took you for a birthday dinner downtown last night. The food was fresh and delicious and we hunkered down at our little table and talked and talked. About so much. There’s so much to talk about these days. And the waiter did as I asked before you arrived, bringing the most chocolate-y dessert on the menu out at the end of the meal with a candle. I sang a hushed and speedy rendition of happy birthday to you.
Back at home, the girls were asleep and the house was quiet. Our babes had littered the blank page kitchen island with little gifts and rainbow confetti and the sight made both of us grin. This, I thought. This. Earlier in the afternoon, I’d taken them, our Rowlets, to find these gifts and I was surprised how much they loved picking your cards.
Big Girl, almost 9, picked a goofy card with a baby in a glittery headdress and sunglasses that said It’s your birthday… bling it on! Inside, she wrote in her careful third-grade-hand: 4 and 0. 40! 🙂 don’t take 40 years to open this present. Have a glam b-day.
Middle Girl, 7, picked a scratch-and-sniff bubble gum machine card and stuck emoji stickers on it. Dear Daddy, happy 40th birthday, Daddy! I love you.
Little Girl, pushing 5, picked a card with a bear holding a red balloon (your favorite card). Dear Daddy, I hope you have a good birthday.
But I had a hard time picking a card. I read so many and kept putting them back. Lots of them were funny. Lots of them were poetic. But none of them was quite right. And then, as it turns out, I wandered away from the birthday section and into the love section. And there it was, the card.
You’re My Person, it says.
The card sits before me now, still blank. I will fill it with words, imperfect and true. Words that are not meant for a blog, but just for you.
I love you an impossible amount, in ways I’m unable to articulate. On this big day, on this everyday, thank you for being by my side, for being the best dad to our babes and husband to me, for simply being who you are.
Forty, kid. Let’s celebrate.