On Wednesday, the weather was cool and mild, nothing like we normally have in August in Oklahoma. Jess was at the farm recovering from the surgical eviction of her ill-fitting wisdom teeth, and Handsome was home from the Commish, cheerfully juggling all sorts of farm projects and repairs. But you know what else Wednesday was? August 28th. My sweet, strong, amazing husband’s birthday.
On that date in 1975, his Mom, natural red hair flowing almost down to her waist, gave birth to the boy that she and Harvey craved beyond cravings. They started a new chapter in the story of their blended family, quite against the odds then, and I will forever be grateful for their choices.
Because of their son, everything is better. He works hard and loves hard and kindles passionate fires with anyone who crosses his path. He cultivates progress and efficiency. He chooses joy and celebrates the big and the small victories in life. He is also the most supportive, most protective, most affectionate husband and father you can imagine. After all these years together, he often shocks me with his depth of love and compassion and ability to reflect.
Plus life with him is just plain fun.
If you know Handsome in real life, then you know he loves beaches and summertime, motionless pool days and crazy parties. You know that Halloween is his favorite holiday, but with a little encouragement he will throw himself into every other (lesser) holiday. He favors movies that make him laugh, and he saves long road trips for country music that helps him cry. He loves steak dinners and 911 hot wings and one very specific flavor of ice cream from Baskin Robbins. (Don’t bother trying to convince him of reasonable substitutes. On this point, he is quite stubborn.)
He will eat spinach salads and roasted broccoli, sometimes zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan, but don’t press him into a salad bar, okay, unless you can time travel back to before Steak and Ale went out of business. Despite his apathy for most vegetables, though, he will go to great lengths to build structures for my vegetable gardens. And he will do anything I ask or hint at to protect all our growing efforts here.
If you don’t know yet, I will tell you that his heart has been broken repeatedly. It’s because he does love so deeply. And losing people or severing relationships has injured him in awful ways. Still, he resists bitterness. He fights it actively and pours his love into new people over and over again.
Spend a little time with this man and you will sense his fascination with other cultures and belief systems. This is one of the qualities that first captured my heart years and years ago, and he continues to woo me with his open mind and natural hospitality.
Every job he does, professional, domestic, and otherwise, becomes a proving ground. Every project he tackles ends with more than outward success; he transforms the process and re-charts the path forward. It can be frustrating. Maddening. Infuriating. And always inspiring.
True to his childhood form, he treasures toys and collections, never leaving things in their boxes. He displays them. Plays with them. He watches cartoons while staying up to date on current events (he is often part of the current events). He loves dressing up in costume, and lately he has especially loved doing this for kids. His heart for children who are hurting would make his Mom and his Grandma so proud.
On our cool, quiet Wednesday, once Jess and I were home from the dentist, we ate homemade chicken and dumplings first (thin chicken soup for the oral surgery patient) then a buttery slab of shortbread apple tart (ice cream for Jess). We watched movies and had pedicures in the living room, the three of us plus Klaus, and silently missed Jocelyn but immersed ourselves in the many joys of the moment.
On Thursday, the weather grew steamy again and we ventured outside here and there. Jess was recovering beautifully, falling asleep in weird places at the drop of a hat, often mid-sentence haha! The birthday boy worked too hard but seemed happy with his progress on our deck. Eventually Alex joined us for a surprise, casual dinner, and we all simmered in love. Jess left the farm happy and healthy. Klaus pouted. I gave my husband a hard-earned massage.
There is so much more to say for his birthday, so much unending love to give and appreciation that needs to be expressed. Brandy is the backbone of our home, of his office, in many ways of our community. Nothing would be as good and safe and beautiful without him. He is my past, my present, and my future, and today more than ever I am acutely grateful for Harvey and Judy choosing to have their baby together. I am floored by how much love and teaching has built their boy into this man.
Happiest of birthdays, babe!! It is raining a monsoon as I type this, and I don’t know exactly how the rest of your week off will look, but as always we will make the very most of what gifts we are offered. Cheers to the next year of life!