Today was a very special man’s birthday, Mike, my husband. 47 years ago a man and his wife went to the hospital to deliver their 5th child. At home they had a 10-year-old son, a 9-year-old daughter, an 8-year-old son and a 4-year-old son. Back in the day, you didn’t know if you were having a boy or a girl. I’m sure my mother-in-law was hopeful for another daughter, but she came home with a little blonde haired, blue-eyed boy.
When he was about 3 or 4 years old, he rode with his mom in the car to visit his dad in the corn field at harvest time. He was an active little boy who, as the baby of the family, had a bit of a hard time obeying. His momma told him not to be climbing on the car. The lesson of obedience was learned when he fell on a corn stalk, causing his spleen to rupture. Emergency surgery was performed and he continued on his merry way.
He moved to Iowa with his family the next year and spent about 8 years there. He built snow forts deep enough that he could walk into them. He enjoyed summers near the creek, playing baseball and enjoying being a farm kid. His sister went off to college and met her future husband.
When Mike was in the 6th grade, his family packed up and moved from Iowa to Missouri. In my opinion, that was an amazing idea. If they hadn’t moved here, I never would have gotten to meet him. Mike was showing sheep and soon began showing steers. I’m pretty certain no one could have predicted just how big a decision that would be for him. It really was a life changing event.
Mike never really looked back from that point. He knew he was called to be a cattleman. And what a cattleman he has become. Mike became a 4-H Beef leader for the first time when my nephew, Robbie, decided he wanted to show a calf. He then became a Beef leader again when Chris turned 8. God had blessed us with two sons who very much wanted to be cattlemen also. And they have been trained by the best. The best cattleman and the best man of faith.
I met Mike when I was 16. I had no clue about show cattle. No clue about life. No clue about love. But boy, I have learned so much about all of those from this man. He handed me a cow at the first show I went to with him and told me to take her to the wash rack. He took me to church with him every week when we were dating. He taught me how to not panic so much when plans go awry. He taught me about the staying power of true love. He taught me that growing older with someone is a VERY good thing.
So today, we celebrated, in the way we know best. We went to a cattle show, fit a steer we sold (who happened to be the champion steer today), fit 2 heifers for our youngest son ( who happened to be the reserve and 3rd overall heifers) then came home, had carry out pizza and a store-bought pie and relaxed with our sons. Happy birthday, Mike. Love you now and forever.