Andy, you're up first, since I kind of like you more right now.
Today is Andy's 30-somethingth birthday. 36 maybe? Close, I think. Andy, I am totally glad you were born. You have been the strangest sort of e-friend to me. Actually, you were my first. E-friend , that is...don't go getting any funny ideas here, kids.
I started to read his blog a few years ago and found out on, oh, day one that he his about the funniest fucking person I could ever hope to know. He started reading my sad little blog I don't know how much later and here we are today. Andy is smart and funny and nice underneath it all. He does sort of have this thing for picking on people who aren't quite as smart as him in their comment sections, but we will forgive him. Nobody's perfect. Andy is a great dad and I can only gather a great husband and a fabulous sort of friend. He spends way too many a long night chatting online with me* talking me through all this shit. Every few days I had an email from him while I was summering in Phoenix**, just checking in to see how I was. He goes to great lengths to pretend that he is pretending to have a blog-crush on me, just to give me something to smile about. He says almost completely inappropriate things to me, just to make me giggle a bit. He asks about my kids, has managed to pop into my bar a few times, pays attention to things about me, says flattering sorts of things on occasion, does all those little things that your friends do. And we met online. It amazes me.
Agentti Andy, I am ludicrously lucky to be your friend. Thank you for your time, for the kindness, for the laughter, for the blogging, for all of it. Happy birthday.
And now, onto the doosie.
Josh, I met you 40 pounds ago, 11 1/2 years ago, when I was 20 and you were almost 23, before I had tattoos or hips. I remember the first time I saw you. I walked past you at the bar I worked at and my uterus immediately ached. The only thing I could think was "babies". You were a great big fat sort of pain in my ass for about a year, with the whole on-again-off-again thing, and then things settled down a bit an then they unsettled significantly with the introduction of our little B. You drank a lot back then. You hurt me in unimaginable ways and I stuck around, barely, because I knew that deep down there was something worth waiting for. When T rolled around you were beyond miserable and I left you for the first time and I cannot even describe the kind of pain that caused me. I was still waiting and hoping for the man I knew was in there to surface. I came back, we did alright for a while and then the girls and the DUI's and the jailtime started. I left, again, and that time it wasn't so bad. Except that you had figured something out and started fixing your life. I came back, again, to a little apartment in Denver with you and the boys and things kind of sorted themselves out. You had your bad bits, I had my bad bits, but we were starting to really learn about each other. We had 3 pretty decent years. And then there was L, and then there was Canada and the relapse and the rest, well, that would be, as they say, history.
I guess my point is that I did a lot of waiting for something I thought you would be, and it turns out that what I was waiting for I got. I got it three times over. I may or may not think you are the greatest sort of man, and we may never speak more than the 5 angry words we do now every Sunday, but I positively could not go one single minute of the rest of my life without your children. You, by accident, gave me the greatest gifts I will ever, ever receive in my whole life and I will never not be grateful to you for them. We have, hands down, the most fabulous children the world has ever known, and it ain't all my genes in there. I understand now that all my waiting was for them. We put each other though a world of hurt to get them, but every minute was worth it because I have the very best parts of you all rolled up into sweet little moderately smelly packages. They have your hair and your eyes and your dry sense of humor and your love of the History Channel and the Olympics and your horrid temper and your hands and your taste in clothes and your penchant for spending way too much time on the toilet. They are reminders of you, but reminders of the good parts. The parts I miss.
This is the first year since I was legal that I will not spend your birthday with you. I hate that it is a holiday and so the whole day is a constant reminder of the loss of you in my life. I have no idea what you are up to today, but I hope that you have a fine sort of day. We will be here, getting on with the very serious business of trick-or-treating, getting on without you. It will be weird and sad but we will figure it out. I hope you do, too.
Happy birthday, baby.
*That sounds exactly as hot as it is.
**That's what I have decided to call my great North American tour of '06. Summering. Sounds fun, don't it?