Forty years ago today, my late mother-in-law gave birth to my favorite of her five boys. Thank God they didn’t stop at four.
Nineteen years ago, I met and fell in love with Dave.
Five years ago, I attended a week-long seminar for work, led by one of the most respected experts in my field. I sat next to said expert at dinner one night. At one point, as casually as “what looks good to you on the menu,” the respected expert turned to me and asked,
“So what made you fall in love with your husband?”
If you don’t have a stock answer to this question, I suggest coming up with one just in case. I think Dave was as close to love at first sight as it gets, but I didn’t have a list of reasons why I fell in love with him. I just did. The question still hung in the air and my brain was stubbornly blank except for one thing, a thing that forced me to stifle a giggle.
I can’t even remember what I ended up saying, but I’m sure it was nonsense and disappointing. Part of me wishes I had just blurted out “because he’s good in bed,” even though that would have been 900 kinds of inappropriate in this context.
There was never any doubt I loved Dave. I chose Dave the first time I met him. I keep my feelings closely guarded for a little while to protect myself in case he didn’t feel the same. Luckily for me, he did feel the same and had no problem telling me so. I’m so grateful he chose me too.
I was attracted to Dave from the moment I saw him. The first time I remember seeing him, he was standing close by at a party in his suite so that others, including me, could sit and be comfortable. At 6’4″, I had to look a long way up to see him and the view was impressive. He made me feel all fluttery with excitement.
I could say he’s handsome or adorable or hot and all of those things are true. But I think the most accurate way to describe him is beautiful. His eyes are flecked with gold and looking into them calms me. He is this giant of a man who couldn’t be more gentle. I bought him a tee-shirt a few years ago that says “I’m a giver.” And it’s true. He thinks of others before himself.
When I met him, he often wore a hat that simply said “Happy.” I started calling him Happy and the name fit. Dave was an easy-going, generally happy guy. He was the perfect foil for me, since if I were wound up any tighter I might break a spring.
He makes wherever I am feel like home. Early in our relationship he told me he shows love for people through food. But he didn’t have to tell me that since it was a Saturday morning and he had come over to my room with croissants and hot chocolate. We snuggled in my bed and watched cartoons. Just typing that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside even though it’s been almost 20 years since that day.
I like to tease Dave about how he doesn’t do grand gestures, but being Queen of the grand gesture (like borrowing this idea to get Dave 40 gifts for his 40th birthday) I realize how much easier it is to do the occasional grand gesture than what Dave does for me day in and day out. He is the King of everyday thoughtful gestures. He does all of the cooking and he is excellent at it. He carries heavy things, reaches things that are too high, and drops me off when it’s really cold or raining.
He believes in me and supports me in everything I do. He gets up ungodly early to go to my races and be there for me at the finish line. When I ran my first race a couple of years ago, it was chilly and drizzled the whole time. He drove me there, stayed the whole time, waited for me at the finish line, and had homemade hot chocolate in a thermos waiting for me when I was done.
Dave also knows everything, which comes in handy. He read his family’s encyclopedia set growing up because he felt like it. His Dad and four brothers get into debates at the dinner table when they get together and they are all very stubborn, except for Dave actually. But they often defer to Dave’s knowledge, which makes me proud. He’s sort of become my encyclopedia and it’s actually disconcerting when he says “I don’t know” in response to something I’ve asked him.
But he’s modest. He generally only talks if he feels he has something important to say. That he talked to me rather freely from the very beginning was an early sign that he liked me too. My mother-in-law once told me Dave didn’t say a word until he was four and when he spoke, his first words were a complete sentence. I always thought that was so adorable and so Dave.
Dave is the only person who has ever made me feel as comfortable to spend time with as I am by myself. And yes, he’s good in bed. Maybe I should have just said that.
Here is a video I made to honor the first 40 years of Dave. I’m in love with the picture of him at 1:05. If I’d known him then, I totally would have hit that. I had all of Dave’s family photos digitized and it was hard to cull them. So a longer video, for the truly Dave-obsessed (i.e., me) can be found here.
Happy Birthday, Dave! I love you.