When I was dating Mike, he was fun and funny, polite and courteous. He was neatly kept and hard working. What I also noticed was, he loved animals and children. He hasn't changed a bit in any of those things during the thirteen years we've been married.
Over the years, I think he's proved himself many times over. Not only is he a husband who aims to please his wife, he cares for my mother and sees to her needs for small maintenance repairs, yardwork, and has even taken her grocery shopping at times. This can be an exercise in patience because she needs help reading labels and as she ages, is growing slower. Mike helps in whatever way he can.
He is as concerned for my children as he is his own and is as loving to my grandchildren as he can be. He's met the challenges of step-fatherhood with love and with care. My children say he's the best second Dad they could ask for. As for the grandchildren, he's believes that adults need to get down on their level when playing or speaking to them, so that we aren't so 'overwhelming'. In fact, I have a photo of him at the EH Fire Dept. Christmas party where he was playing the role of Santa. There he was, down on his hands and knees, playing with a baby who was crawling on the floor! As the kids grow, he teaches them in fun ways, believing that they don't listen when it's a serious droning that sounds like school. They sit on his lap and he shows them pictures in the National Geographic magazine, they talk about them, and even 3 year olds learn new vocabulary words such as 'nocturnal', 'marsupial' and ' reptiles.' One day last summer, Becca sat on his lap, and he was playing with her long hair. He divided her hair into 3 sections, and then asked me, "How do you start a braid? I used to know..." I told him to place one piece over the top, and then bring the other side over. Without another cue, he went forward, creating a braid...not as neat as a Grandma's, but definitely a good tight braid! He dances with a child's feet on top of his own, busting the moves as only he can, making them burst into giggles! He bakes cookies with them. They all have been born since Mike and I were dating, and though they are not connected by blood lines, he is truly their "Papa."
My Mom used to kiddingly say, "Find me an older version of Mike" and before my girls married, they would say, "Find me a younger version!" I honestly believe that he's one of a kind, and that I am extremely blessed to be able to call him my best friend, my husband and my beloved.