Birthdays are a big deal in our house. Chalk it up to Michael being a Leo, or me making up for a life as the fourth of five kids (and often being forgotten), or so many years of doing everything I could to make Madeline’s birthdays extra special… or I guess we can just say that we really love having a date on the calendar that tells us it’s time to celebrate life! Whatever it is, we sure do love to celebrate.
But! Oftentimes as adults, some birthdays can get put on the backburner (michael’s, not mine… hello), and even though we used to vow that we’d always be on a roadtrip to celebrate Michael, the last couple of years we’ve had to be a little less creative and a lot more humble. Kids – Work – LIFE. You know how it goes.
This last year has been one of a lot of separation for all of us, where most of our communication is via text–and on a good day FaceTime–and every so often we look at each other with sadness and say, “When’s the last time you spent time with Madeline?” to which the normal response would be, “I don’t know! When’s the last time you spent time with Madeline?!” So you can’t even imagine how good it felt that on Michael’s birthday weekend, after a night of camping in the foothills overlooking the Hood Canal, we got to have ONE WHOLE DAY with all four of us, on a beach… our favorite place to be.
For all my days that I fantasize about having one day to myself, Michael would stop at nothing to make sure that we are all together as much as humanly possible. He puts family first, always. Even during the times that I shame him for never being home, he gently and patiently reminds me that he is doing all of this for us and for our future… and then goes even more above and beyond what most people would consider to be normal, to spend any extra hour with us when he can. I am emotional and passionate and sometimes just downright stubborn and irrational, and Michael is the rock that holds me steady while all around us my wild winds blow. He deserves being celebrated everyday; but what we got this year was a day on the beach, and then the next day (his actual birthday), we got to celebrate over breakfast pancakes during the much-anticipated solar eclipse of 2017, when the sun hid behind the moon for an epic few seconds. We reached for each other, we held our breaths, and then we exhaled in wonder at so many reasons to be thankful.
And then he was 42. I’m not sure what this year holds for us, even though we are already prepping ourselves for some life changes that feel both scary and exciting… but I do know that we have each other, and if Michael has taught me anything at all, it’s that having each other is all we’ll ever need.