My husband , I realize gets short shrift on this blog. Clearly such wonderful children could not be, as Hillary would agree, raised without a village. And the headmaster of the village is Dean. He is the wind beneath the wings, the rememberer of AWANA patches, the loader and unloader of the dishwasher (kindness, yes, irritation at my stacking abilities, boy howdy), the one who finds extended RV trips genuinely fun, the one who keeps Tim Horton's in business, the tenderest of patient caregivers, the most outraged by customer service.
He has been at my side since he first started teasing me over fourteen years ago leaning over the fragrant remains of the cadaver we were assigned together. When the words "I'm a Christian" came out I was smitten. God brought him to me after a time of great sorrow dating people I thought were good matches. He took Dean and I, different as can be and saw that our hearts fit together to make a unit that has rolled through sickness and health, through more sickness and more and joy and sorrow and we are rolling forever, me and my Milwaukee boy.
He turned 45 this week and he doesn't act a day older as he piles three kids in a blanket and swings them around the house. He still smells good -all the time-no matter how many perennials I've made him dig up in the full sun. He can fix anything; my parents' favorite phrase when a car dies, a refrigerator light won't work, the gutters are askew, is "We'll have Dean take a look at that."
He collects cross-country skis to outfit armies. He picks up toys and picnic tables and bookshelves from the side of the road. He buries dead cats, soothes crying babies, makes lasagna, and loves all things having to do with spicy wings. He sleeps perfectly still on his back, like an sleeping angel and only stirs when someone calls "Daddy!."
Happy Birthday, Dean, I don't tell you enough that you are my dear, dear lover, my fiercest friend, my protector, the father of my precious girls, and my greatest earthly blessing.