Yesterday was easily one of the best days of my life, and this is in large part because of a man named Michael Dalton Gandy.
For much of my life, I’ve been a cynic about birthdays. This is because I learned early on that it was the best defense against a world that didn’t seem to care much about me. After my mom walked out on us when I was 11, I lived alone with my dad. He often forgot my birthday altogether. The year I turned 14 I complained about it and suggested “normal parents” might remember a thing like this. My dad sighed, a day late, and went to Walgreens, where he purchased a mug with the name LISA on it. He put a pair of socks in it. He didn’t wrap either one and both stile bore price tags. He slammed them down on the table next to me, as if to say, “There. Happy now?”
This isolation and neglect helped propel me to a writing career, as I wrote my enormous feelings down in journals to get them out of me. But is it any wonder, then, that I grew up to be an angry, combative, cynical woman who continually picked men who didn’t much value me? That is, until now…until years of therapy and the acquisition of new life skills have made me aware of the beauty life has to offer, until my newfound peace and sense of loving centeredness allowed Mike Gandy to enter my life.
Michael is my new boyfriend. We live together. He is a wonderful friend and partner, and he went out of his way to make sure my birthday was special. “I wasn’t there for all the others,” he told me last night, holding me in his arms after all the party guests had gone, “but I’m going to make up for the ones I missed.” Michael is the first partner I’ve had who went out of his way to make my birthday memorable and special.
Michael not only remembered the day, he treated me like a queen. He got me two Dean Koontz books, knowing this to be my favorite writer. But not just any books. He scoured the earth to find me a rare copy of the first book Koontz ever had published, from 1965, and he worked like heck to secure me a signed copy of the forthcoming one.
Mike also contacted all my friends on Facebook and asked them to send him short birthday videos for me, telling me why I’m special. We got about a dozen, and they’re all on my Facebook wall. I cried through every single one. Mike got the house ready for my party with my girlfriends last night, and cleaned up after us while we all sat around the table laughing. When everyone was gone, Mike presented me with my newly repaired saxophone, and some new reeds – an incredibly meaningful gift that shows me he is not only paying attention to me, but he knows what matters to me, what I love, who I am. I’ve been wanting to start playing seriously again, but a mental block against my “abandoned” musical career has prevented me from repairing my horn; this gesture told me he believed in me, not just musically, but in every way. I have never been this loved and supported in all my life, by anyone. It’s easy to see where Mike gets his loving nature; his mother and grandmother both sent me cards (something my own parents didn’t do) and his mom called me. Her husband texted me to wish me a happy birthday. His family is beautiful and loving.
I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. I want to thank all my friends, and my boyfriend, for giving me such a beautiful day. He made it all that much easier to handle the fact that my own mom didn’t call until almost 9 p.m., and then with a negative tone. All that is the past. Michael, and the newfound love he has helped me to have for myself, is my new reality. I’m over the moon happy.
Thank you, Michael. I love you.