I met Brian when I was 18. We were both freshmen in college. We’ve been together 22 years, coming up on February 14th, our first date in 1996. He is my first love. My best friend. An amazing father. My fairy tale prince. When we first kissed I saw our lifetime flash forward–us, our kids, this farmhouse, and sitting side by side with him on our big porch in rocking chairs in our old age, sipping lemonade.
He has often been compared to Superman because of his great looks and his great heart.
And it’s true. He is Superman. He’s our kids’ superhero. He is my hero every day.
Because most of all, Brian is good. He is a good man. He does the right thing, every time. He tells the truth. He acts with integrity. He stands up for people when they need it. He stands up to people thoughtfully and eloquently. He is strong. His character is impeccable. He has never been a bully. He doesn’t laugh at people’s pain or scoff at anyone’s life. He is the litmus test of how to get up every day and live life the best way for everyone–selflessly, fully, with pride for self and care for others. He treats everyone with respect.
He listens. He has an awesome belly laugh. He is a devoted friend. He cries when crying is what must be done. He swings an axe and makes firewood–and the hottest fire I’ve seen. He marches to work every day, by bike and boat, and returns at the end of the day to swing the kids up over his head and hug them tightly. He asks, “How was your day?” to all of us. And listens each time. He supports us and believes in dreams. He reads books with the kids and drops them off at school every morning wearing PJs and Crocs and morning stubble. He nearly always makes the kids’ lunch–he has the half-sandwich cut down to an art. This morning he repeated again that dropping Cora and Brooks off at school feels physically painful, like he is detaching from his heart when he walks away from them. He draws and paints evocative, beautiful paintings and book covers and illustrations because he has a rich inner world that flavors the way he thinks and exists.
He treats me, his wife, with love, kindness, and respect every. single. day. Brian shows up. He loves us all. In this, he has made me rich beyond my wildest dreams.
He returns home if he is needed, and he hugs us tightly. This in and of itself is enough.
He knows that “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything” (Michael J. Fox), and that “Problems are like washing machines. They twist, they spin and knock us around. But in the end we come out cleaner, brighter, and better than before” (Tejas Patel).
So, as we march toward the 22nd anniversary of our 1st date on Valentine’s Day, and the 15th year of our engagement on February 14th (to commemorate our first date), and the 14th year of our marriage, I wish I could shout it from the hilltops and all the towers: This is what a good man does. This is what a good man is.