Oh, god, I am getting O.L.D. But he will always be OLDER.
Dear The Donor,
I met you when you were what, 23? I can't even remember, it was that long ago. You were fresh out of college, fresh out of a relationship, and so beautiful that the memory of you then makes me ache.
I remember the first time I saw your house; how tidy it was, how it was decorated and how your closet was organized, your books were all lined up on shelves, the bed was made. That is SO not your reality anymore. Yeah, I'm really sorry about that.
The past 13 years with you have been the stuff they design world class roller coasters around. For every up, there has been a down. Every soaring high has had a crushing low. And every single second was worth it. I have watched you grow over the years, and taken your hand as you've tried to lift me up, too. I have fought you every step of the way, and you have stayed right here by my side through every high and every low. You have taught me how to forgive, and if I ever had to list my flaws, my lack of the ability to forgive would top that (ridiculously long) list. You have shown me that sometimes in life, there are things worth fighting for, worth taking risks for, worth trying over and over again for.
You were just setting out into the world on your own two feet when I met you, and became a father before you knew what hit you, and a husband promptly after that. We both gave up the first glimmer of a "youth" we'd ever seen to embark on a path neither of us had any clue how to walk down, and through trial and tribulation we found our way through, together.
Today, you are 36 years old. You are more beautiful today than you've ever been, with your greying hair and your obnoxiously great legs. You are by far the funniest man I've ever met in my 33 years, and that is certainly my favorite thing about being married to you. Not a day goes by that I'm not shooting something out of my nose and looking at you with that look that says, "Did you REALLY just say that?" You are grossly inappropriate, freakishly intelligent, refined in a way I'll never be, and kind to a fault.
I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams that my children would have a father like you. The way you adore them, dote on them, and still manage to put your foot down when it's needed is a gift of character that I never received. I'm trying to learn it from you; maybe in another 10 years it'll rub off. You are teaching them what it means to be a father, to be a man, and having come from a world where that didn't exist, let me tell you that you are doing an amazing thing for these children. All four of us are blessed beyond all compare that you are the cornerstone of this family.
I tell people that we never fight, and they roll their eyes at me and Uh Huh me and I just let it go at that. But I think it's a testament to the man you are that we just don't ever fight. I tried to count the fights we've had on my hand, and I think I got to six? Maybe? If I stretched? Sure, we've had some really awful times, but you and I have always been friends. We still are today, 13 years and 3 kids later. I love being around you, and I hate that I barely ever am. I also hate that you pull my blankets off me at night, but it all balances out.
You quite literally get better every year. You seem to be more comfortable with who you are and where your life has taken you as every year passes. The 23 year old Donor I knew was witty and sharp and angsty and deep, and the 36 year old Donor I know today is still witty and sharp, but he has peace inside him. He is full of love and tenderness, and just enough asshole to keep him really fucking funny most all the time. And he's seriously hot. Which is nice.
Happy birthday, my darling. We will be waiting up for you tomorrow night to blow out candles and sing to you (and yes, I'll totally steal all the kid's KitKat's out of their pillowcases for you) and then, once we've gotten the zombie, the butterfly and the punk rocker to bed, I'll make sure you get the other present I've got planned for you.
Speaking of which, how exactly does one USE that iron thingy, anyway?
All my love, baby, all of it forever.