I am sitting at Peets Coffee in Roseville with time to kill while my husband, Dan is enjoying a 90 minute massage next door! Yesterday I picked up him from work and whisked him away for a special birthday celebration. I simply told him to pack an overnight bag with a “date night” outfit and casual clothes because he is going to get a day off for his birthday!
We do not really celebrate birthdays for Mom & Dad in our family. Of course we usually have a special birthday dinner at home and top it of with cake and ice cream but other than the BIG birthdays (like 40 & 50, so far) where we have had parties with friends and family…Dan and my birthdays come and go with very little fanfare. Which is really a-ok. But for some reason this year I felt compelled to do something special for my best friend, partner in everything and love of my life…Dan!
And not just because he is those things to me, but because he is truly an amazing, selfless, godly man who continually gives and gives and gives to those around him without expecting anything in return. So I decided to give him a day completely “off”….away from it all. He is very unlike me who is always for looking for ways of getting away…whether it is lunch or coffee dates with dear friends, Mothers Fellowship Nights with our homeschool Moms, weekends way scrapbooking, day trips to fun places and we won’t even mention the beach holiday I take that keeps getting longer & longer each year! No, he rarely thinks about himself and is always working, teaching, counseling, advising, coaching, parenting and the list goes on & on & on. And he does it all with a smile on his face, joy in his heart, a kind word or bit of humor on his lips and he never…not ever complains.
As a Teacher & School Chaplain he composes and completes creative lesson plans; grades hundreds of papers & tests, records that same number into his computer; teaches five classes to students with different abilities, personalities, attitudes and interest levels trying his best to reach and inspire them all; researches new ideas and concepts by continually reading material, books, websites and watching videos; gives extra help during lunch, afterschool and even over his cell phone late at night; attends staff meeting & devotions, disciplinary council, accreditation and department meetings; encourages fellow staff members taking the time to listen to them and pray for them; serves as class advisor and Impact club advisor always getting fully involved in student activities; he attend athletic competitions, dramatic & musical performances and even outside of school events for students to show his support and love for them; he counsels, advises, loves, encourages, prays for & with his students as well as countless alumni; he sets up and tears down for chapel, plans services and secures chapel speakers from vast and varied backgrounds hoping to please everyone (ha!); he organizes & oversees the worship team; he facilitates school camp and spiritual emphasis week; he visits students who are sick, attends funerals and comforts hurting families; he communicates and meets with parents who are often disgruntled, distressed or unhappy (not too many set up a meetings or call, text or email to share what they are happy about); he stays after school events to stack chairs, vacuum and assist in clean up often waiting until the very last student gets a ride home; he coaches girls teams with the intensity of a man but the care & concern of a guy with 4 sisters and 7 daughters; he leaves the house each day at 6:30am…rarely arrives home before 5pm (and on game days it is 7, 8 or even 9pm)…and then spends most evenings on the couch grading, grading and doing more grading (in between daddy duties) finally heading to bed late at night (a tough task for a natural morning guy). Yes, I think he needs a day off! (and thankfully he turned off his phone last night and didn’t get the 8am wake up call from the school needing to know where a cord for the chapel sound system was)
As a Daddy he gives baths, reads bedtime stories, fixes “owies”, does the girls hair (yes! he really does…even Christiana’s cute “do’s” are all his creations) and cuts the boys hair; he prays over and for the kids, teaches them the Bible, takes them to church every Sunday (and served in the nursery for 18 years!), leads in family communion and devotions, and is a role model of a man after God’s heart; he attends all their sporting events, coaches teams, gives pre and post game advice on how to play and compete, about injuries and exercise as well as cheering wildly from the side lines (and occasionally yells at the ref to the chagrin of the wife); he gives driving lessons, helps with school assignments and “lectures” appropriately at every turn; he loves them all completely and unconditionally and in a New York minute would give his life for each and everyone of his children! He is also “like a Daddy” to countless young (and not so young anymore) people who he has more than willingly taken on the role of a father for. Yes, he deserves a day off! (and might I add that his five eldest daughters who have their own money generously gave so that their daddy could be blessed in this way!)
As a House Handyman he mows the lawn (to perfection), plants, weeds, gardens, cleans inside the house, outside the house and the cars, kills bugs & rodents, repairs everything, unclogs toilets and sinks, changes lightbulbs, fills gas tanks, takes out the garbage, fixes the cars, goes up into the attic even when it is 120 degrees up there, packs the car like no one’s business for every trip anyone goes on; grills, cooks and even on occasion bakes and it always tastes amazing; he does all the heavy lifting (good thing he’ll have Daniel when he gets older!) and takes care of everything classified as “gross”; he always has a “honey do” list staring at him and he simply smiles and chips away at knowing that it will never end. Yes, he really should have a day off!
As a Friend to all he is always there for any needs that his friends have! He counsels with, gives advice to, prays for and gives freely of his time, his talent and his treasure; he never says no to someone who asks for a favor; he drives people to airports, loans out his car, helps with moving in and moving out; assists with building projects, painting, roofing, yard work and more; he does pre-marital counseling (and post!), performs weddings and funerals, speaks at church ministries, teaches Sunday School, disciples, mentors, encourages, challenges and trains anyone who asks (and even some who don’t). He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother….faithful and true! Yes, I think he would love a day off!
As my ideal husband he is…well….there is no other way to say it…practically perfect in every way! He opens the door for me, carries my things (and at times even my purse!), pulls out my chair when we sit down to eat out, makes me coffee in the morning, kisses me good morning, good bye, hello and goodnight; he cares for me when I am sick, pampering me and meeting my every need (if you only knew what that meant during each of my 7 awful pregnancies), he believes in me, cheers me on, encourages me, challenges me to be better, protects me, defends me and adores me; he serves me, leads me and he loves me just like Jesus Christ loves his bride, the church! And let me tell you this is not all that easy to accomplish with a strong willed, intense, fussy, opinionated, stubborn, driven, “type A” wife like me! Yes, I got a “sweet deal” on a husband and yes, he deserves a day off!
Well, my 90 minutes is over (I could say so much more about Dan…the man, but I am sure he won’t want to sit here and watch me write on his “day off” although we all know he would do it with patience and a smile cuz that’s just the way he rolls!) Happy Birthday Dan…may you be blessed beyond measure today and throughout this new year of life that has been given to you! May all of those who you have given your life to as a teacher, chaplain, coach, friend, counselor, minister and daddy pour out their love and bless you abundantly today and everyday of your life!