Today is a day Abe has been looking forward to for a long time. Forty years ago today, Abraham Jolley Fox was born and the world is a happier place because of it. On the occasion of this, his 40th birthday, I offer forty things I love about Abe (in no particular order).
1. He loves to do the driving on long road trips with our family. His record is 18+ hours. He stays alert by drinking Diet Pepsi, tormenting his children with Totally Awesome 80's music, and discussing baby names for our future children.
2. He is very supportive of me in my endeavors-- homeschooling, teaching piano lessons, book clubs, you name it. If I want to do it, he helps make it happen.
3. He frequently tells stories to the children. Stories from his childhood, made up stories about "bear-dragons", adventure stories of little children suspiciously like the ones he is addressing. The little kids love it when he has a later morning at home and they catch him in bed before he gets up. Abe shouts out, "It's time for Morning Stories!" and they all pile on the bed to snuggle with dad and be entertained. He's way better than any cartoon on TV.
4. Abe and his brothers played a lot of hours of D&D when he was a teenager. That love has been passed down to many of our children. At least they all have a working vocabulary of what the different types of fantasy/D&D characters are and what powers they have. A recent dinner conversation was deciding what kind of character the different members of our family would be in a fantasy world. I told them all that such a conversation would never have happened around my dinner table while growing up. Consequently I was deemed a witch and I do believe someone yelled, "Burn her at the stake!" I didn't love that, but I do credit Abe with fostering their imagination and creativity.
5. Abe does not like me to buy him new clothes. He wears his shoes out completely before he can be convinced to buy new ones. High fashion is not a motivator to him and no one would mistake him for a metrosexual. He is, however, grateful when I find a killer deal and force new clothes upon him.
6. Abe is kind. He never tries to one-up anyone. He feels very badly if he feels he might have hurt someone's feelings.
7. I'm not sure if Abe notices when the house is a mess. Even when it is really, really bad. If he does notice, he never says anything. I love that about him. He does, however, notice when there is a sticky spot on the floor, like spilled juice. He used to notice that and used to question me about it. "What is this sticky spot on the floor?" I told him if it bothered him he was welcome to clean it up; which he now does without ceremony or interrogation.
8. Abe is very detail oriented. I'm not. By request, he regularly edits my writings for me.
9. Abe loves a good party for any occasion, and while he's not much of a house cleaner usually, he goes all out cleaning up if we're having anyone over to our home.
10. And the reason he cleans up so much for guests is that he has good manners. He sees it as a sign of respect, to show we cared to make things nice for our guests. He is a gentlemen, always wanting to make people comfortable. Abe is always polite and a great person to have around to break the ice or make conversation in an awkward or uncomfortable situation.
11. Abe is always happy and willing to go pick up our teenagers from late night social functions. I'll offer to go if he is really tired or if he has an early morning, but he usually takes the job upon himself to spare me a late night drive.
12. Abe loves to be home with his family. As much as he loves a party, he is never happier than when we have an evening at home together.
13. Abe is so easy to please with food. I try to make a nice family dinner almost every night, and yet he seems genuinely surprised and overcome with gratitude at each sit down family meal. His favorite is a leftover spaghetti dinner. He likes it the first night as well, but he loves left over spaghetti.
14. Abe bears his testimony of the gospel and his gratitude for the church easily and frequently. He is grateful for his parents and their example of faith.
15. He says yes to the children's requests when I've said no for no good reason. It's never in a way that disrespects me, but rather he'll take the time to harmlessly indulge them when I'm too busy to notice something that is really important to them.
16. Abe loves his mother and regularly calls her to check in and talk with her. They are cut from the same bolt and two of the most selfless people I know.
17. Abe is quick to apologize if he has behaved badly. To me or the children, he is the first to acknowledge his fault.
18. Abe has joined the ward choir. He doesn't read music and struggles to learn his part at times, but he enjoys associating with the good people in the choir.
19. Abe works so hard. I won't talk about the insane hours he works during the second half of the year, but I am so grateful. I can't complain about my job difficulties at home when I know he is up early and working late and doing it all for us.
20. Abe is very diplomatic. He is able to diffuse what could be a heated situation. Whoever he is talking with and in whatever the setting-- he asks or discusses in such a friendly manner that he usually gets what he is after.
21. Abe does not enjoy change. He finds what he likes or what he's comfortable with and sees no reason to change course. When he finds a restaurant he likes, that's where we go for several months. Our current favorite-- Costa Vida.
22. Although he does not enjoy receiving them himself, he gives a most marvelous foot rub, of which I am the lucky recipient of. He also gives a very good back rub, but only to me or his dad. Strong hands from years of milking cows.
23. If the children wake up during the night and come into our room, Abe is always the first to help them. He likes to sleep closest to the door so he can catch them before they get to me. He is also a very light sleeper, while I sleep very deeply, so they really have no chance of getting past him. Not that they'd want to. They know he will help them feel better.
24. Abe is so very thoughtful. If he can think of doing something that will make someone more comfortable or help them out, he will do it. If I'm driving somewhere new he will print out a map for me. If I am going somewhere fun with the kids he will remember to put the camera in my bag. If he plans something he makes sure all the parties involved have all the details and are taken care of.
25. Abe is the best cheerleader. He is the loudest and most enthusiastic fan at the children's sporting events, and it's not because he actually cares about the sport or winning or losing. The children may be embarrassed at times, but they know their dad loves them.
26. Abe loves family history-- his and mine. He is a strong supporter of activities and gatherings that honor and pay tribute to our ancestors. I'm embarrassed that he probably knows more about my family history than I do.
27. Abe is very dependable. If he says he is going to do something, it is as good as done. I find that invaluable when it comes to him picking up children from various locations. Also he is very diligent in fulfilling callings at church.
28. Abe loves his daughters and tells them how beautiful they are.
29. Abe loves cold cereal more than any grown man should.
30. Abe is a fair weather sports fan who spends very little time actually watching sports, but he does keep up to date with the sporting world by reading the sports section of the morning newspaper.
31. He keeps up on current events and explains them to the kids in a way they can understand.
32. Abe loves watching movies-- all genres: action, fantasy, old black and white classics, musicals, British period, romantic, comedy. If I fall asleep during a movie, I'd much rather listen to him recap the movie than go back and finish it myself.
33. Abe is a great sport in board and card games. Unless those games involve me lying to him. I usually skunk him in games that involve lying, but he wipes the floor with me in games of strategy. He did, however, recently graciously accept defeat at the hands of Clark in a game of Stratego.
34. Abe doesn't blame other people when things don't go well for him. He accepts responsibility for his actions.
35. Abe naturally sees the goodness in other people and doesn't waste energy thinking or speaking ill of others.
36. Abe's middle name is Jolley and he was aptly named. He is cheerful by nature and by choice.
37. Abe is very persistent and doesn't give up easily. It seems a small thing, but when the remote control has gone missing, we all appreciate his patience and persistence in finding it.
38. Abe is not afraid to put himself out there and show off his talents. He recently agreed to join the kids and me in auditioning for Bluffdale City's production of The Wizard of Oz. Little did he know he and I would be cast as Uncle Henry and Aunt Em! It may the fist time in the history of the play that Uncle Henry will sound a little like William Shatner.
39. It is very important to Abe that the milk gallon jug lids not be misplaced and put away in the fridge without a lid. I don't really care at all because I figure the milk will be gone soon enough. We discuss this difference of opinion far more often than we should. He is not me and he does somethings differently than I do. Thank goodness. My family does not need two of me. We need him and his gifts and talents.
40. Abe loves his family. We know he'd rather be with us than with anyone else in the world.
Happy birthday, my love. We are so blessed to have you.