Monday, February 02, 2009

Heroes Continued - A Real One Beside Me

This blog tends to be adoption focused with a smattering of other topics thrown in for good measure. Because it is adoption focused, it also tends to be kid focused. I share about events, issues and struggles, and it is written from my perspective. Because of that, there is one person who isn't mentioned as often in the blog, my husband Dominick.

Tonight we had a joint celebration of his and a friend's birthday. We were invited over for a terrific meal and cake, and had a really nice time visiting. We opened presents but I had no card for him as Kenny had fun with tape and sealed cards up before signing them, and I gave up. So perhaps this will serve as my birthday card to him.

Earlier today, as I was driving to work, I was going over my post of yesterday in my mind, my lamenting the loss of heroes in our lives. I was thinking of those everyday heroes that so often go unnoticed, and I realized I would quickly place my husband in that category.

Dominick and I have been sweethearts forever, almost literally. We met when I was a 13 year old child and he a 15 year old obnoxious teenager. We started dating when I was 15 and I immediately was stunned to find myself feeling quite certain that he was the man I was going to marry. This was not puppy love, it was the real deal, and how he and I knew it at that age I will never know.

Watching someone you love as they grow and mature is a special thing, watching your spouse grow from a boy to a man is entirely different and a unique sort of blessing.

Dominick is my hero. He works harder than any man I have ever met, including my own father who was a record setter in his own right in that department. We are not high income earners, we are not highly educated, we have what we have only due to Dominick's willingness to do whatever it takes to put food on the table, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. He does a job most of the year that is utterly unglamorous and taxing on his body. Some of my long time readers know more about us but many of you do not. Dominick washes cars for a living, he is a mobile auto detailer. The restaurants at the airports get us by during the winter months, but the bread and butter is from washing cars. He doesn't have a "staff", he does virtually every car by himself with the occasional help of a laborer from a temp agency if he has too much work to handle alone. Day in and day out. Washing and waxing my car is one of my least favorite tasks, and I can not begin to count the number of vehicles he has cleaned in the past 12 years just to get our sons home, let alone to take care of our other needs.

Most days he is up at 4:00 AM, especially during the winter. His usual work day is 10-12 hours, and then he comes home and still makes it a priority to play with the boys. He is far better at that than I am, he is still such a big kid! I wish I had that ability to reach back into my childhood and play like that, but I think in general guys are usually better at that then we women are.

He is an amazing and dedicated father, one of the best I have ever seen. He loves his sons to distraction, and he loves me with all his heart and soul. There are those dads who talk about "babysitting" their children (which has always been something which I admit instantly inflames me...please explain to me how you "babysit" your own kids?) and then there are those dads whose children are just a part of them, who look forward to spending time with them and teaching them new things, who enjoy being with their kids. Dominick falls in the latter category. We really have no boundary lines in our parenting, and that is largely because Dominick is as good a mommy as I am, but I surely am not as good a daddy as he is!!!

We both value education, and each have our role in helping the kids, but it is Dominick who spends more time with the kids on their homework, going over spelling words, helping with math every evening. He is far more regular at it than I am, I have usually been the one to read stories and volunteer in class, but most dads don't take it upon themselves to be the one to do the nightly routine of homework with their kids. I admire that in him very much.

To the bystander, Dominick is that sweaty guy with the filthy uniforms driving around in his truck washing cars. He is the guy making the sandwich for the ski traveler even though he can't afford to ski himself (and in all honesty would never want to anyway!). To us he is the man who has done without so much for his family, who puts off buying a watch for months to save a few bucks, who spends every waking moment serving his family and others in so many ways. He is our hero.

For me personally, he is my hero for supporting me in every cockamamie scheme I have ever come up with, and laughing his way through it all. He is my partner in every way, he is my team mate, my buddy. And I think he is sometimes the funniest guy in the world, even if no one else gets his strange sense of humor. He is so quick witted and there are moments he says something that makes me literally laugh until my stomach hurts! No one else in the room might find it as funny, but I do.

Dominick turns 45 years old this week, and he has lived a life of honesty, of decency, of dedication and of love. He is steadfast. So, though my dear husband may not ever be featured on the cover of a magazine, receive any medals, or be recognized by the media, he is a hero in every respect.

Thanks for being my hero, Dominick. Although I don't say it often enough, I admire you more than anyone I know.


Barb and Ken said...

Cindy, I married a man who mirrors your Dominick. We met when he was 16 and I was 17. I also knew he would be my mate through life. He worked as many jobs as it took to provide for his two daughters and me. I still, almost 41 years later, can not believe how blessed I am and we are as a family.
Nana to Five

Karen said...

Your "birthday card" to your husband puts Hallmark to shame. What an amazing husband and father. Happy Birthday Dominick—you are truly a gift to your family.

Lindsay said...

What a beautiful tribute to your husband.

Maureen said...

What a beautiful tribute to your husband. It's always nice to hear praise (versus complaints) of a spouse.

Lori said...

Seriously...who needs Lifetime TV? I'll just keep re-reading your love story!

Anonymous said... this mean I have to be _NICE_ to Dominick now? Sheesh! Happy Birthday - all our love from LV.

Pamela said...

Wow...fantastic list. #9 really hit home for me, particularly when I traveled to Aktobe in 2006. Everything that you wrote about in #9 was what happened to me...add to that being scared in the bathroom at the Almaty airport at 3:00 in the morning when some teenagers tried to pull a fast one. Not only did arriving in Almaty make me uncomfortable, but the flight on SCAT airlines to Aktobe totally made me pull out the rosary beads. And, handing over my passport to Gulnara was something I couldn't fathom, but did anyway. Blind faith, for sure.