As the years tick by, I think there's nothing I haven't shared (that I could share) about Mike. I've shared it all. He has horrible taste in television (Futurama, Ice Road Truckers, Moonshiners) and is constantly opposed to doing the dishes but is, hand to God, the kindest, most incredibly grounded, simplest (in the best way) man I've ever known. He loves his son and he loves his motorcycle and he loves his family, and if you mess with any of those things, he's going to pretend he's never met you, no more chances, best of luck to you.
Yes, you know all that. You definitely know all that if you know Mike. You know he's quiet at first, sarcastic every time after that, and you know he's got the most beautiful shade of red hair on the planet (when he ever grows it long enough to see, MICHAEL). He also has a smile that could stop wars, and could definitely save marriages. I swear by that smile. He gave that smile to my son.
Damn those smiles.
He also changed my life, you probably know that too, but you might not know that he didn't change it with our first kiss or our first date or the first "I love you"s -- not that those moments weren't incredible because they were -- but he changed my life on one random sticky summer day in 2004 as we were driving from my house to get lunch.
I asked him what he was doing that night, after he got off work, assuming we'd do something together, and I flippantly mentioned that Cherie wanted to hang out but I could see her the next day if he wanted to get together instead and he slowly swiveled his head toward me and said, causally, naturally, life-changingly, "Go out with Cherie. Babe, if we're going to be together forever, we don't have to be together tonight."
I wish I could articulate for every girl who's just started dating someone how important it is to stay connected with your friends, to value your relationship enough to step away from it sometimes, to trust that giving anyone space won't hand them a ticket out, but it's a lesson we have to learn ourselves.
I was never supposed to learn that lesson.
I look at every relationship I've ever had and I see how they pointed me toward not handling that moment well, not handling this gift Mike was giving me with any grace, but I still managed to. Not that we were fight- or obstacle-free from then on, oh lord no, we just fought last week, but it was such a turning point in my life, such a turning point in my relationship.
Sometimes I think there's nothing else to be said of Mike. I've said it all. I've even said that before (that I've said it all), but then I think that this is the guy who has given me a million gifts, a million stories, a million everything, and I could spend forever filling up this blog with posts worthy of the "Mike" tag and still not share it all with you.
He's got horrible taste in tv. He never does the dishes. (You are rolling your eyes right now because you get it. HE NEVER DOES THE DISHES.) He doesn't know Twitter from Facebook from Pinterest and when I talk about the Blathering, he still thinks it's going to be in Sacramento. He wants me to love all those social-media-type things, but he'll never get them, and that's so beautifully Mike. "I don't have to love something to be happy that you love that something."
But, he loves his son. He loves his motorcycle. He loves his family.
He'd swear up and down that he didn't start loving me eight years ago today. It was more like seven and some change. It took him a little while to get there, he'd say. That first night all those years ago was not about love ohhhhhh no, it was about unbloggable things.
But, here's something you might not know. I think I started loving him that first night. The day we became just-maybe-possibly-us. I loved him from that first moment, when he offered me his bar tab, his phone, his compliment, even if I might not have known it then. But, ohhhhh I loved him, instantly.
I love him, still.
Eight years ago. Eight years later.
Damn that smile.