An Ode To Richard ~ On His Birthday

Richard’s birthday falls on Valentine’s day.  We met on Christmas day at a Christmas party.  I didn’t know many of the people at the party, but parlor games were being played (always a good ice breaker) and Richard, no matter who he was teamed up with, was winning.  I remember seeing him seated on a couch near the window that looked out on to the snow drifts on 8th Avenue.  I remember how intense he was and focused.  He was funny, in a dry, smart kind of way.  He was  one of those people who doesn’t seem to really care about what others think, a bit of a rebel, certainly someone who doesn’t take orders from others.  (Have I mentioned that people say I can be a little “bossy”?  Not that there’s any truth to that mind you.  I just have really good ideas about how things should be done.)  I remember the way he looked at me.  I remember saying to him in front of everyone there, “Are you flirting with me?  I thought you were flirting…”  He grinned at me, with those dimples of his and answered, “Well I was flirting, but I was also asking you a question.”

I can’t remember the question any more.

Right from the beginning ours was not a traditional nor particularly conventional courtship, if you can even call it that.  We went out with groups of friends a few times, always making sure we sat together, always pretty much ignoring everyone else.  We had planned on going to a New Year’s Eve party together, but Richard got the flu, so I went alone.   The next day I received a call from my mother that my father wasn’t well.  I grabbed my wallet, a toothbrush and a pair of underwear, (I’m serious and yes it was a bizarre choice, particularly as I brought nothing else) hailed a cab and caught the first airplane I could get, out west.  Those were the days when you could show up at the airport, without a driver’s license and take a plane where ever you felt like going.  By that night I was at my parent’s house.  Two days later my father died.  Richard and I spent at least an hour every night on the phone.  He held my virtual hand.  He said all the right things, he listened, he talked, I listened.  We talked about death and life and our childhoods and everything in between.  There were lots of tears and emotions.

A week later I returned to New York in love with a man I had spent almost no time with alone.  But I knew the essentials.  I knew he was kind.  I knew he was smart and funny and wise and ambitious and curious and utterly unconventional.  I knew he was a tad quirky.  I knew he had strong opinions, was a bit esoteric, had some weird ideas about aliens and wanted more than anything to see a UFO in his lifetime.  I knew he had a tough childhood and a past that was complicated and I knew we were both in for the ride of a lifetime.  I knew it wasn’t going to necessarily be an easy relationship,  we are both far too feisty, opinionated and sensitive for that, but I knew this was a man who would challenge me and I wanted and needed to be challenged.  That hasn’t changed.

Over the years we have learned to give each other slack, to not pick apart every perceived slight, we have learned to weather our differences, we’ve learned to respect our marriage even when we’re angry with each other and don’t agree.  We’ve learned the art of letting go, not needing to control so much, it’s definitely a work in progress.  We’ve learned a great many things from each other and we keep learning.  We have two beautiful, quirky kids whom we love and adore.  We do not own them.  We do not mistaken our children as extensions of ourselves.  We do not mistaken each other as extensions or expressions of ourselves.  We are a family, a beautifully diverse, vibrant family who respect one another and give each other the space each needs to (hopefully) grow and flourish.  Richard reminds me to “take it down a notch” when I become too fixated on something that is not within my power to change, he encourages me to fight and change the things I can, he is always there for me, supporting me and cheering me on.  He believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.  He believes in our children with the same dedication and passion.

I can honestly say I love him even more today than when I first fell in love with him on that snowy, wintry Christmas day so long ago now.

Happy Birthday dear Richard!

Richard – then

A young Richard Long

Richard – Now


23 responses to “An Ode To Richard ~ On His Birthday

  1. So encouraging to read ,as a aspie in my longest Relationship yet!

  2. Wow. To say I feel blessed by your love, by your daily presence in my life for all these years, would be the understatement of the century. How lucky am I? All you have to do is read this post and you’ll know. You are the love of my life darling, and like you said, I love you more today than I ever have.

    And tomorrow, I’ll love you even more. Happy Valentine’s Day darling.

  3. You two are the best. Sending lots of love to you both. Happy Birthday Richard!

  4. Beautiful.

  5. Happy Birthday Richard – and I hope you get to see a UFO one day.

  6. What a great post. Happy Birthday, Richard!

  7. Happy birthday, Richard, and Happy Valentine’s Day to you both. I wrote my hubby a Valentine letter today, but I must say it wasn’t as eleoquent as yours, and I didn’t put it out there for the world to see. Well done!

  8. Happy Birthday Richard!!! I love this story!!!!!!!! You guys Re lucky to have each other 🙂

  9. Happy Birthday Richard

  10. Oh, I love love! Happy love, and happy birthday to Richard!

  11. Ryan (becca daddy and husband to Susan)

    Great ode and a happy birthday to Richard and a splendid Valentine
    s day to you both!

  12. Run, run, run, pant, pant, pant, Am I late to the party? Golly gee, but musicians can live complicated lives!! Happiest of Birthdays, darling dimpled Richard! Big birthday smoocherinos! Gooeyippee post, sweet Ariane! 💝 and Happy Valentine’s Day to all!! (the only holiday I truly like, but don’t tell. I celebrate holidays for a living)
    As for the UFO sighting, Richard, you’ll get one, no doubt, next time Doc and I bring the band to NYC:) Meanwhile, I feel it is my civic duty, as the nation’s capitol’s token peroxide blonde, to sing to you, bodaciously offkey: 🎶Happy Birrrrrthday, Mithter Pwesident…🎶

  13. Snif. I love this romance of beautiful quirkies. xoxo

  14. Congratulations Richard. Happy birthday. What a gorgeous ode to love.

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