I am so surprised by the mere fact of arriving at this point in life. I am even more amazed when I recognize I have arrived at this point in your company. We have been partners in so much over the last thirty-six years and it has continually gotten better. I am amazed you still love me and put up with me. I am also incredibly grateful you do.
I tell the story so often of your emerald green silk blouse and burgundy bra strap it is now legendary, but what I don’t say is how strikingly beautiful you were across the conference room table. I remember being a bit mesmerized. Then you walked away in you high heels, footsteps and zipper on the back of skirt both a little askew. But your stride was purposeful and excellent. I saw no imperfections. If what you say is true, everything comes from being crooked, it must include my initial attraction to you.
We romanced in the News - New York and New Jersey, with short times in Chicago, filled with good food, plays, interesting clubs (SOBs), frenetic weekends and racing to various airports – Teaterboro and O’Hare in snowy winter. We were so secretive and quiet about it. You were the boss, after all (Maybe I should declare #Metoo). But in time I met your family and friends. Going to the family gathering - you finding out your father was remarried; me - left alone to burn the relationship with Aunt Lu. But the drive there and back from someplace I didn’t know, in your company was wonderful, filled with trepidation and laughter.
You coming to see me in Chicago, with cookies in hand, which the dogs got to enjoy, while you came to see McBeth at Ted’s studio. After the performance, when all retired to the local bar, I watched in delight as you spoke in Spanish with someone at the bar. Your face lit up and your conversation was so animated at the chance to speak Spanish and talk of Spain with a stranger, I fell even more deeply in love with you.
We finally celebrated and married in front of our family and friends as you declared your vows so everyone could hear, while I mumbled mine quietly, because you told me not to use my actor voice. A great ruse to ensure you upstaged me. It ensured it really was you that starred that day. I still think we looked like we could’ve come out of TARA with your hat and pearls and me in my morning coat, doing my best to be your Rhett. You were so nervous, you pressed so close to me before we walked the aisle together my boutonniere was destroyed before the day began. What I loved about the day beside the fact that you actually married me, was having IHOP breakfast together, just the two of us before the world changed. You were vulnerable, left alone the night before and we could just be together – us two. I loved looking at you across the table; my breakfast companion for life.
Off to our honeymoon, after a party of deserts and the band and dancing and family in our room until 3:00 AM and sending them off so we could leave the next day. There we were in the islands, man – adventuring out, risking our lives – while still young, tan and in speedos – way better on you than me. I remember meeting the couple (the man who built the shuttle cradle) who were ‘the older and wiser marrieds” as we are now. You travelled down treacherous roads with me - BVD Rasta Man with rifle; scuba diving with me, you took on my scary dogs as I went away and jumped in without reservation while I travelled America in a bus with a bunch of actors. You have been there throughout with the same trust we would get through. I have always known each risky step you took with me was done while panic churned underneath. But as promised, we missed only a few days in 34 years saying I love you. In all this time we never said it to one another in some perfunctory way. We have always meant it fully, every day!
We weathered my being away most of our first two years of marriage all over the country on tour, Nashville, LA while you carried the ball at home – dogs, neighbors, house, travel to see me. When I was home working crazy hours as a temp paralegal, also travelling, Dallas, DC; you were at home holding life together. Living through the chaos of career disruptions, finding new employment, new opportunities that didn’t pan out. When work dried up for us both in NYC you found both new work and new home in Ohio. A new adventure.
What a new adventure – for me it was the first home anyone of my immediate family ever owned – amazing. Property, with a tractor mower. Weird jobs until Richard Bennett, which again kept me gone during the week. Losing both our fathers in close proximity of time to the beginning of our biggest life whirlwind, becoming parents. I know you never believed it but you were a stunningly beautiful pregnant woman. They say pregnant women glow – well you did. Then we were unexpectedly three. I moved my office, came home each day, the first round of abdominal surgeries with you trying to die on me and leave me to father alone. I’m glad you realized how bad I might be at it without you and decided to stick around; it would have been no fun without you.
You are a great Mom, even though I know deep down you don’t believe it. Like with me, you have always put the needs of family before your own. Including, when Warner left us in the lurch, you found a new job and built life here in California – finding a new place to live and a foundation to start this next amazing adventure.
We have been here 24 years, I guess we are Californians now, and in those years you have made amazing friends, worked a career with ups and down, but that afforded us a pretty amazing life as a comfortable family in the second ever home we actually own (with the bank). You tolerated some pretty abusive and disrespectful working environments to ensure we could remain in this world and raise an amazing child into adulthood. Her spirit and strength of character developed through witnessing your steadfast perseverance and tenacity. Her intelligence goes to the many nights you read with her, helped with homework I would have bumbled and all the opportunities available to her because you put her needs before your own.
In all this time, you have aged with the greatest of grace. I know it feels like you have kicked and screamed your way here, but that is an illusion. You have kept your glorious sense of humor (I love your laugh in all its derivations from light giggle to raucous lost the farm) and sense of style. You can move from comfort to dress up with relative ease and simplicity. I love you are demure and understated but still so cool. I love you make our home so welcoming Kyra’s friends and ours want to come hang out with us and she likes coming home and spending time. I know you claim she favors me, but when she is troubled she reaches out to you most often and, like always, you are there. More important, you take joy in being with her – you love it and show it, despite the squabbling you guys do regularly. I guess life would be a bit boring without the snarking back and forth. While you complain, I know you love that your child still asks you to help and provide assistance.
In all this we have aged together – no doubt you in better shape. There isn’t a day I don’t see you and enjoy how beautiful you are. There isn’t a day I don’t marvel you still put up with me with continuing grace and love. While this day may seem gigantic – you are still the most amazing woman. I could not have a better life partner. You remain stunning and loving and I continue to need you. I remain grateful you said yes to my proposal, so long ago. I am so completely yours my stunning birthday girl.