Last year, at the age of 50, you took up rowing.
I don't have a photo of you rowing. But I do have this cute video of you showing our son how to use a diving bell.
You'd rowed for a year in England, when you were 30. I think for you that year was magical, and you look back on it the same way I look back on high school. Your memories are steeped in warm sunshine, laughter, glasses of beer raised in cheers, and pixie dust.
(OK, maybe just mine. But this is how I picture yours.)
I'm an introvert, and a solo worker-outer. It's by far my preference. But you grew up playing sports on competitive teams. You love the camaraderie, the competition, and being relied on as part of a team.
Unless you're a professional athlete, this is hard to find once you leave school.
And then a friend suggested you join this boat club.
It was perfect for you. You love rowing. You love water.
In fact, you're one of these people who gravitates to water. You can't bear to be near it and not get in it.
It's not something I feel myself, but I've had a number of close friends who are the same. If there is water, they need to touch it.
I told our kids you can't stand to be near it and not get in it, and Jordan, who has been reading the Percy Jackson books, nodded approvingly.
He said, "Like a true son of Poseidon."
Our kids love the water the way you do.
Recently, on vacation, India and I came home and you and Jordan were in the pool with a big cooking pot. You were doing "diving bell experiments"--to Jordan's utter delight.
You're a fun, terrific dad. And I love that you do things like this, things that would never occur to me.
So for the past year, you've been hauling yourself to a boat house, no matter the weather, even when it's pitch dark, even when it's 23 degrees, for a year.
Your hands are constantly calloused, cracked, and bleeding. I just learned the other day that you don't wear shoes in the boat--you put your stockinged feet into shoes attached to the boat. In 23 degree weather!
I...couldn't even really think about that.
And with all this, you're the fittest I've ever seen you. You're lighter, kinder, and happier.
I think when people think of adding years, they think of weakening, of decline. The word "aging' doesn't automatically conjure up images of growth, of taking on new challenges.
And yet, this has been a year of huge growth for you. I've seen you get stronger, faster, and learn to think in different ways.
I'm so proud of you.
Plus, the kids and I think you look adorable in your rowing leotards.
Happiest of happy birthdays.