I met this man at my first full time job in 1979. He was a "manager" while I was just a clerk typist but I liked him immediately. He has the kind of calm, confident air about him that makes you feel at ease as soon as he walks in the room. EVERYONE loves him.
I did some work for him for the next couple of years as our careers changed and grew and we became, sort of, friends. I worked under a very hierarchical mindset at that time, which meant that I call him Mr. ________ instead of by his first name (to this day I call him by our last name - even after we started dating I couldn't get used to using his first name so I just called him by his last. It stuck.). This meant that being friends for real was out of the question for me. But I loved working with him (he was so NICE) and he respected me so it worked.
Then he left the company to work for a much smaller company. I can honestly say that was one of the saddest days I can remember in my career. He was married and so was I so there was nothing romantic but I knew I was really going to miss working with him. I was right.
Then I separated from the man I affectionately refer to as my "practice husband". When I told my boss (who was a mentor as well), she said, "You know...Mr. D is single now too." To which I replied, "So what? He's so old!" Um...he was 34 at the time. Hey! I was only 21! To me 34 WAS old! Anyway, she pushed and pushed and I finally went out with him and the rest, as they say, is history. 29 years of history as of April 13th....more on that in April I'm sure.
What I want to convey today was how much I want this to be a good birthday. This man is the most giving and selfless person I have ever known (which really isn't saying much coming from my family - but I've been on the planet a long time so it is an accurate statement). He never thinks of himself and he taught me the most important lesson I've ever known...to love unconditionally. He deserves the best of everything. I can't give him everything but I can finally give him the best of me. I think it's what he really wants.
I used to always say, "I'll love you forever" to which he would reply, "I'll love you at least until tomorrow." It drove me batshit!!!! Why couldn't he just say forever? What was so wrong with forever? Didn't he love me the same way I loved him. Eventually I got used to it but I never liked it.
Fast forward 25 years to a friend's garage/sports bar sign...Free Beer Tomorrow. I read the sign and didn't think much of it until I was explaining it to my son one day. We were sitting in the parking lot at Target (Mecca to me) and I said, "You see...tomorrow never comes! That's what makes the sign so funny!" It finally clicked. I started shouting, "AT LEAST UNTIL TOMORROW...TOMORROW NEVER COMES!!!! I GET IT, I GET IT, I GET IT! HE WAS SAYING FOREVER!!!"
What can I say...sometimes I'm a little dense.
So happy birthday my one and only love. I'll love you forever...or at least until tomorrow.