My loving husband, Michael.
Today is his "half-century" birthday. Yep, a biggie alright. His lovely sister pointed out today that he is now officially eligible for membership with AARP (bad Cheri, bad!) This weekend, our kids will give him a hard time about it which will probably include some cracks similar to his sister's about getting older, and he will smile and laugh at each one.
Because that is just who he is--he takes everything in stride.
I wanted to do something extraordinary, something spectacular to mark this special occasion for him today and burnt a few brain cells as I struggled to think of the best way. Finally, the cylinders fired and an idea surfaced. So, without further ado, I introduce you to my Man, my Legend, and now, no longer a Myth to all, my husband Michael. This is taken straight from the pages of my latest release, Ramblings of a Mad Southern Woman.
Happy birthday My Love.
Let me tell you a story of a man who isn’t afraid to work for a living. Michael is a man who refuses to wear gloves to protect his fingers from harm because that is just what men do. He is a man whose hands are so calloused he can pick up a hot ember as it pops out of the fireplace without blinking an eye and so strong they can crush a normal man’s hand. Yet these same hands are the one’s that gently cup my face, as gingerly as a butterfly’s caress while leaning down to kiss me. That is my Michael.
Michael is the last of a dying breed of men. A true blue-collar man, he rises early and beds down early. He is the kind of man whose strength and moral fortitude help build America: he is its backbone. A hard day’s work earns him a paycheck and the satisfaction of a job well done. He loves his country and flies the American flag proudly in his yard, and if the pledge of allegiance is said while in his earshot, he will stop, put his hand over his heart, and recite it. He ends the day with a cold beer in hand after a long, hot shower to erase the day’s grime. He takes pride in his work and isn’t satisfied until the job is done right. While at a jobsite, he is as tough as the next man, as dirty, and can converse with the superintendent as well as the other laymen with ease. He knows his job and isn’t tolerant of shortcomings or omissions from the inexperience of younger workers. He spits, cusses, and yells just like the rest of the men, but I would never know that save for the fact he tells me these things, for he is only a gentleman with me. I am a lady, and he treats me as such. At work, he is a bear on the outside, but at home with me, he is a kitten. That is my Michael.
He is fiercely loyal to his family and loves his three girls with raw emotion rarely seen nowadays. This big man with hands of stone must choke back tears when one of his girls tells him they love him. That is my Michael.
One of the truest sports fanatics I have ever met, Michael loves all sports. An all-around athlete himself, he played football, basketball, and baseball while in high school and excelled in all. He is also a great tennis player, and generally kicks my butt when we play. No, his breed doesn’t allow women to win without earning it, for that just would not be right, for one must earn what they have. And that’s okay because it has made me a better player. An Arkansas Razorback fan to the core, he lives, eats, and breaths Razorback sports and is a walking trivia book when it comes to U of A history. Ask him about any player, past or present, in any sport, and he can tell you all about them, right off the top of his head. Razorback games are rarely missed, and if they are, they are recorded for later viewing pleasure (or pain if we lost). While watching a game, he yells at the commentators, screams at the referees when they make a bad call, and jumps up and down like a little kid when we win. Yet this same sports enthusiast will sit down with his nine-year old little girl and watch Hannah Montana, just to spend time with her. That is my Michael.
Tall from genetics, lean from work, he stands 6’3” in his bare feet. His legs are long and sinewy, like a fine thoroughbred horse. All the years of sports and working on his feet have given him muscle mass that most men work years to attain. His shoulders and arms bulge from ceiling work for the past 25 years that no machine or workout could possibly recreate. His hazel eyes sparkle when he smiles and his grin is infectious. His keeps his soft, curly salt-and-pepper hair trimmed short to fit his lifestyle, but just long enough that I can run my fingers through it when he sleeps. That is my Michael.
He is devoted to his family and never forgets anyone’s birthday, although he tends to leave the gift giving to me. He remembers to call his mom on Mother’s Day and her birthday, and speaks of her with admiration and awe. A man that loves the Lord in his own quiet way and lives out what he believes. That is my Michael.
This man, this wonderful enigma from an era long past, is my rock, my knight in shining armor, and my soul mate. He appeared in my life during a time of great turmoil and uncertainty, and stood there as a beacon of light, a lighthouse in the stormy seas of sorrow that I rode. His gentle ways, his love of life, his soft kisses and warm heart lifted me up, dusted my heart off, and gave me the strength not to give up. His unyielding spirit and heart with depth I am only beginning to fathom, allowed this crushed flower to bloom once again, more strongly and vibrantly than ever before. His love for me has surpassed any dream that I have ever had and allows me to face each day with renewed vigor. His voice makes me smile, his touch makes me shiver, and his love makes my heart sing. This mountain of a man allows me to be enveloped in his arms and melt into his soul. His embrace makes me feel whole, safe, and loved. That is my Michael.
His deep, calming voice makes me smile when I feel like crying. His appetite for life has infected me and pushed me to attain goals I never dreamed possible. His presence is a healing salve and makes the troubles of my day seem distant and less painful. That is my Michael.
This man, this incredible man, who has endured hardships and broken roads of his own, loves me beyond a mere description of words. The gruff exterior hides what lies inside, which is a huge heart full of compassion, joy, love, and kindness. He knows what I am thinking without me uttering a word because this tough-as-nails man has the uncanny ability to read people, especially those he loves. When the world seems to all be against me, he is there, those strong, big arms wide open, ready to shade me under his protective grip. That is my Michael.So who is Michael? Michael is the rarest of all men—strong as a bull on the outside, yet soft as down on the inside. A man of strong moral code who stands firmly for what he believes in. He is a man who loves with all his heart and expects nothing less in return from those around him. True fiber and depth of character with a heart full of grit and determination whose love I can’t live without. In short, he is My Michael.