Today is Jerimiah’s 41st birthday. Usually I write a silly, funny, sappy FB post or a share a pic on Instagram, but he’s off all social media these days so instead I’m turning to the old blog to let the world know how grateful I am for him because that’s what you do for the people you love. You celebrate them every chance you get by reminding them how incredibly important they are in your life and the lives of others. Because really, at the end of this life what do we have but the way we treated people, the lives we touched, and the blog posts that will live in perpetuity.
Forty-one Things We Love and Appreciate About You
- You treat our doggos like they are our children. You cuddle with them, you let them sleep on your feet and take up way more space in our bed than they should. You pay stupid amounts of money to keep their hair and nails cut. You worry about them when they develop a cough or eat something weird in the backyard. You try your hardest to teach them right from wrong. Right: Be nice to the neighborhood cats. Wrong: Stop chasing and barking at the neighborhood cats. Even though you also hate cats.
- You watch murder documentaries with me and YouTube videos with Jackson because we ask you to watch them, not because they interest you in the slightest.
- You do the things that need to get done that no one else wants to do. Example: Cleaning up the mouse poop from that weird crawl space in the basement and not complaining about it one bit.
- You don’t mind being “the bad guy” when it comes to holding your boundaries or helping Jackson and me hold ours. You have always said, “Just tell them you can’t (insert thing we don’t want to do) and blame it on me.” We never blame things on you, but we appreciate you going to bat for us at all times.
- You vote in every election. You send postcards to get other people to vote. You phone bank. You protest in the streets. You do the damn things. You show up.
- Before you have some important thing to talk to us about, you ask us if we have time to talk. This is something you have actively worked on over the years and I think it stems from you being a good leader at work. You don’t want to interrupt people when they are doing something, you are considerate and thoughtful in that way, same as you like for people to respect your time.
- Speaking of your time, all your “free time” is spent with your family and we appreciate you for it. You are not the dad or husband who makes his own plans on the weekend without consulting us first. You always say, “What are we doing?” And if you are invited somewhere you say, “I have to talk to the family first. Also, can I bring them?” It’s weird to you to do something without us and the feeling is mutual. We are a packaged deal and you make sure everyone knows it.
- The phrase, “We’ve always done it this way,” irritates the shit out of you. You think people use it as a crutch and will never grow or expand their opportunities, knowledge, and ability for empathy if they continue to believe things can’t get better. You are always looking for ways to make things better.
- You don’t kill spiders, when you can help it. You shoo them out of the house instead.
- You don’t have a fragile male ego. You don’t want your son to have a fragile male ego. You are systematically ridding our lives of these men, even the ones related to us, which is hard and sad, but necessary. Thank you.
- You give hugs and kisses and tell us you love us every day.
- You take us wherever we want to go. If we wake up one day and want to drive to the beach, you’re game. NYC for the weekend? Why not? Disney for the THIRD time in a year? “Okay, yeah, we can probably make it happen,” you say.
- You cook. You clip recipes from random flyers we get in the mail. You pull recipe cards from packaging. You browse the Kroger website for recipes. You often say, “I saw this recipe on LinkedIn that I want to try!” Who looks for recipes on LinkedIn? Who shares recipes on LinkedIn? You do.
- You fight for the people who have a hard time fighting for themselves. Your employees have no idea what you do for them behind the scenes, and while it’s best that way, sometimes I wish they knew how much you care about how they are treated, compensated, and spoken to.
- You volunteer to come to my doctor’s appointments because you know it makes me feel better to not be alone sometimes.
- You despise CIS white men who play golf all day and tell racist/sexist/homophobic jokes. The men who are always turning everything into a competition. You are learning to speak up to them. You are working to rid your life of them.
- You do not shy away from the tough conversations. Not with me, not with Jackson, not with your co-workers, our family, or our friends.
- You are a lifelong-learner who is always taking opportunities to grow and change, even if what you are learning has the capacity to bump up against your worldview and beliefs. You will still politely listen, take it all in, think on it, talk it out with us, then decide. Maybe you will change your mind, maybe you won’t, but you always try to see the other side.
- You love board games, but only when they aren’t taken too seriously.
- You jump in with both feet. You have always taken the chance. It hasn’t always paid off, but when it does, it pays off big. Your motto is: The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. There are times I know you were nervous to do it, but you did it anyway and every time we are better than before because of your courage and tenacity.
- You cry when you need to, even if it is in front of our kid. I don’t think you realize how important that is and how hard it is for other men to do.
- You always read what I write or let me read to you. You always try to have feedback for me, even though that is not your thing.
- You remember birthday and anniversaries.
- You ride the Tea Cups at Disney, even though they make you sick. You ride them with us one time and you smile and you make a big deal of it so Jackson laughs and laughs and laughs. Then afterward you sit on a bench and drink a Sprite while you watch us ride them eight more times.
- You smile for the picture and you don’t complain.
- You volunteer for all the things and make them work in your own capacity. You are the freaking President of Band Boosters for fuck’s sake. How many other dads do you know work full-time as the sole supporter of the family, show up to all the school events, help the PTO whenever they need, and are also the PRESIDENT of the freaking Band Boosters? I only know one guy.
- You dress up on Halloween with us in whatever theme we come up with.
- You have no qualms about driving for 12 hours to pick up my mom in Kansas, because she is afraid of flying, to come stay with us for a month-long visit.
- You are the SOLE financial supporter of this family. With an artist for a wife, you don’t have a lot of options. But you do it without complaint or ridicule or even side-eyeing me. In fact, you go out of your way to make sure I have very little guilt about it. There’s always guilt and I know that frustrates you, but I’m working on it. You tell me to keep writing. To keep pursing my academic goals. You tell me we will make it work. You have always said that and it has always worked.
- You are sarcastic and clever and wicked funny.
- You are working hard on breaking the cycle of generational trauma.
- You let Jackson and me work things out on our own. You don’t “mansplain” and if you accidentally do, you realize it and apologize. You always apologize, in fact, when you have messed up, even sometimes when you haven’t but think you might have. You ask if you messed up. You let those conversations happen. You seek ways to get better. You think about what you just said and how you said it. You do this with friends and family, with coworkers, with me, and most importantly with Jackson. You never chalk it up to him “being a kid” and not needing an apology. We hope you know how much we appreciate this and how hard it is for people to do. You should teach a masterclass.
- You support whatever weird obsession Jackson and I develop. You go all in with us.
- You always get the doggos pup cups from Starbucks and kid cones from Dairy Queen.
- You like to shop for Christmas presents and birthday presents and any other presents. You aren’t that Dad who just gets his name written on the Mother’s Day cards or the Welcome the New Baby cards, you often write them yourself and sign our names. Thanks.
- You always involve Jackson in work, conversations, and situations that will benefit him in the future. He can change tires and brakes. He can drive a manual. He can clean out the gutters and have tough conversations with family members because he’s been privy to all that.
- You send us articles that you want to discuss with us or that we might find interesting or challenging. We wouldn’t know about half the cool-ass shit we know about without you and your articles and your podcasts.
- You share your pronouns when asked. You wear your “Proud Ally” shirt whenever you can. You support friends and family all the time.
- You don’t have to be “right,” you just want to be heard and respected, while also respecting everyone else’s thoughts and ideas.
- You take fashion advice with a smile, even though I’m sure you get tired of me saying, “Are you gonna wear that?”
- You will drop anything you are doing if we need you. We know that is the case and we try to do it sparingly because we always know you are there and that we are the most important people to you in the whole world. We hope you know we feel the same and that all the other things in this life don’t matter as long as the three of us (ahem, five of us) are together. We would follow you to the ends of this world to keep us as close as possible. We love you and appreciate the dad, partner, and friend that you are to us.
Happy 41st Birthday, Dad. We love you to the moon and back.
M. and Jackson
There’s honestly too many good pics to post of you being awesome! But Jackson wanted to make sure this last one made it on here! 🙂