I watch the obliviously mortal
The goobers of summer

A list of 41 things I love about Clay, on his 41st birthday.

1. When I’m taking a bath and you want to come in the bathroom and talk, you always knock, even though you know you’re welcome.

2. When you’re engaged in some Sisyphus-like task, like trying to get the kids to brush their teeth, you jolly them along by making up songs for them.

3. You rarely remember the words to the songs the next day, even though they’re brilliant.

4. You are possibly the happiest person I’ve ever met. 

5. You are often funny, yet almost never sarcastic.

6.  You enjoy the boys so much that sometimes I wonder if you didn’t marry me just so you could run with a feral pack of boys again.

7. One night I was driving home and it was very very foggy and I took a wrong turn, in an area I rarely drive. I ended up lost and I called you, laughing at myself and trying not to sound scared. Even though I laughed at my stupidity, you didn’t. You calmly, clearly gave me the directions I needed to get through the fog.

8. And you never teased me about it. You never even mentioned it again.

9. Even though I’ve lived here for fourteen years and you’ve lived here for three years.

10. Whenever you meet a veteran, you say, “Thank you for your service.” And you listen to their stories, without mentioning that you, too, served.

11. Because what you mean is “Thank you for you for your service,” and not, “ooh, listen to what I did!”

12. Thank you for your service.

13. You certainly could add to a discussion of military fun, though. You have some great stories.

14. My favorite is the one about the time in Iraq, when the camel stole your box of goodies.

15. No, no, my favorite is the one about the time your leave got cancelled and your mom called your CO and straightened that little matter out.

16. You never tell me the stories where someone got hurt.

17. You are both realistic about the problems facing our country and unwaveringly patriotic.

18. You have taught the boys to open my door for me.

19. You have taught the boys to tell me I’m beautiful.

20. You have very nearly even taught me to believe I’m beautiful.

21. Even if it’s snowing outside and the wind is rattling the windows, you like to end the day with a little ice cream.

22. And you still have enough spare heat for my icy feet when we go to bed.

23. And my icy hands.

24. And sometimes, my icy nose.

25. You not only love your parents, you admire them.

26. When you lost your finger, your immediate reaction was, “Well, that’s how it is. Let’s move on.” I kept waiting for it to HIT you, for you to be upset. You never were. Your real, true reaction to the loss is, “Well, that’s how it is.”

27. Although you do enjoy playing games with your finger – like the time we were on a car trip and you had the boys watch for passing cars, so when they pulled along side us you could put the end of your stump in your nose and make it look like you had your finger in there up to the second knuckle.

28. The four of you thought that was hilarious.

29. Every time.

30. You guys also think this joke is endlessly funny, “Hey, let’s play a game! It’s called ‘nose.’ You pick first!”

31. A few months ago we were at church and I was muttering to myself, comparing Tre’s height to the girl’s next to him (she is exactly one year younger than him – to the day – and if I judge the height of her heels correctly, just a shade taller). As I fretted about his stature, you shrugged. “Hey, what do you expect? Neither of us is exactly tall.”

32. It honestly didn’t occur to you in that moment that Tre isn’t biologically yours.

33. It doesn’t matter that they’re not connected to you biologically.

34. You’ve committed to the job of father, even though their biological dad is out there…somewhere…

35. Somehow you can commit to today without knowing what tomorrow will bring.

36. You are strong. Sometimes I like to trace the muscles in your arm.

37. Tonight you did pushups with Raphael sitting on your shoulders, just to make him giggle.

38. You tell the same jokes over and over again, and they never fail to make you laugh.

39. They make me laugh too.

40. The other night we were reading and you showed me something in your book about the common fears everyone lives with. They were something like; sickness, poverty, loss of relationship, death. I asked which ones you were afraid of. You thought about it a moment, then responded, “Mediocrity.”

41. In that case, fear not.



Wow. I think there are fewer than 10 men on the planet that are this good. Happy Birthday, Clay. You make me want to be a better person, and I've never even met you.


This is just another way that I know you love me. You focus on my strong points. I Love You.


That was beautiful, Kira.

Happy Birthday to Clay!


Happy birthday, Clay. Thank you for your service. Thanks for being everything Kira deserves, too. You two make my cold, black heart a little melty.


Aw! Happy Birthday, Clay!


Happy Birthday Clay! You're wonderful and your wife is wonderful and you so deserve each other! Hope this is a great year.


I'm so happy that you two found each other.

This is such a beautiful post!
Happy Birthday Clay!


Happy Birthday, Clay!

...and don't fret about Tre's height just yet. Remember the boy/girl height differential that occurs at about this age. It's possible he'll catch up!


Kira, you found yourself a "yacht"! We ADORE Clay, and talk about how we are so happy for you all whenever it comes up in conversation... which - you know the Hardisons... - that family can analyze anything to death :-). Has Joyce met him?? Or is the real question... has HE met her?? Oh.. never mind. LOL
Happy Birthday Clay!!


What a great post! Happy Birthday Clay!


Happy Birthday Clay! Kira, that was so sweet.


Happy, happy birthday Clay!


What a beautiful post! Happy, hapy special day, Clay!


Happy Birthday, Clay!!!! Thank YOU for YOUR service!!!!


That was so eloquent -- what a beautiful tribute to your beloved. Happy birthday to Clay, and happy life to you all.

Serenity Now!

WAH! That made my cry!


Happy Belated Birthday Clay. Thank you for your service and thank you for giving me hope and thank you for loving my friend.


What a great post. How wonderful that you two have each other. Happy birthday, Clay (a little late)!

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