Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whatta man (whatta mighty good man)

Today is a very special day in our family. Today is the 41st birthday of someone who doesn't show up in the blog all that often: Mike.

Why, you may ask, if you love this guy so much you followed him on little more than faith and the strength of his word to the Middle East, do we never see him in the blog except when you go on vacation?

This is a good question, and it deserves an answer: he is always at work. Mike is the hardest working guy I know, and the job is getting harder and more demanding every day. I told him yesterday that when our contract is up he should go into a more relaxing field, like, oh, I dunno...battlefield surgeon?

This is not to say Mike doesn't like his job. He loves what he's doing, seeing his engineering come to life...bigger than life! It's merely that there aren't enough hours in the day and everything is an emergency. His most common comment to me goes like this: you have NO idea.

More often than not he chases it up with The job is exactly what I expected it to be. Then not a word of complaint escapes his lips.

He leaves before sunrise, I throw him an espresso and a vitamin on the way out the door, and hopefully he comes home maybe 14 hours later when I'm putting the kids to bed. (Assuming I'm on schedule, ha ha.) Honestly, that doesn't leave much room for blog fodder. There's only so much you can write about "the hubby is exhausted again" and not drag down your readers and worry the mothers.

However, this post is for Mike. Yesterday I failed miserably in trying to find him Wii Guitar Hero, though I followed though on part 2 of the plan and made reservations at our favorite steak house. There they will sing a South African version of Happy Birthday to him with a view of the Burj al Arab besides. I've been practicing my ululations and should I get up the courage to let it rip will embarass myself and Mike and probably everybody around us. Anything for the birthday boy.

So, now that I've threatened to embarasss Mike, let's just go on ahead and go for the gusto. Brace yourselves, and I'll do my best not to get all sappy and sloppy. Nobody wants to see that happen.

Mike is the most ethical person I know. I never met somebody with such a strong internal moral compass. Which keeps me out of trouble most of the time. He does what's right simply because it's right. Even when he was a teenager he was like this!

He goes out of his way to make sure I know he knows that I contribute to our family too. A lot of wives complain about how they are utterly unappreciated; I would bet that at least once a week Mike drags his head out of whatever schematics he's dredging his way through to thank me for something, be it clean jeans or a half edible dinner. He actually uses the phrase I appreciate what you do.

He loves the kids and always does his very best to do the best for them. They adore him and are still little enough and in love with him enough to yell Daddy! Daddy! when he comes home.

And he has a really sexy smile.

Especially with a kid on his head.

Living here, and working so hard, has sucked a lot of Mike's ability (and, he claims, his sense of humor) to have fun right out the window. We cancelled our weekly date because he flat out doesn't have the energy for it. However, he still forces his eyes open long enough to read bedtime stories every night, to play puzzles or build with legos, and refuses to take "time away from the family" for himself, however much I encourage him to.

Conversely, he patiently listens to my prattle every evening and makes sure I get to go running. Somehow he gets it, that I would simply go stark raving mad (or at least be really lousy to be around) if I didn't get to go pound the pavement and for my sake (and that of the children) he puts up with and supports my fix.

He tries really hard to think though the challenges of parenting tht we all know can be overwhelming, especially when you're tired.

Most importantly, I know I can count on him.

When I first met Mike, some 13 years and some ago, I thought, wow, what a smart, great guy. This guy is something special.

I still think so today.

To Mike, my spousal unit, back-up, best friend, silent blog partner, the guy who puts up with our kids and all my foibles: Happy Birthday. I love you.


dorothy said...

Amen - what a blessing!

Cathy O. said...

Happy B-Day Mike!

Matt and Kim Fairbanks said...

Happy Birthday Mike!!! 41 already? I can't believe it. :) Give that cute little wife and kids a big hug and kiss from me.

carol.penney said...

Wonderful sentiments! Happy Birthday...

David said...

Hey Natalie, say happy birthday to Mike for me. Was good talking with you on Skype. I've gotten on myself. When you get a chance, send me a message with your skype account name.


sherrip said...

Happy Birthday, Mike!! Glad to hear you are doing well and loving what you do. Pretty important, since it consumes so much of your time. You are SUCH an engineer!!