Joe likes to tell the kids the story of the first time he saw me. Our kids sit around him while he regales them with one of his infamous tales.
“We were gathering in the Evergreen lounge for our first PROS meeting of the year and then Mommy walked in. Only she wasn’t Mommy at the time. I didn’t know who she was, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I leaned over to my friend Pat who was sitting next to me and asked, ‘Who is that?’ Pat said, ‘That’s Shannon Cogan, stupid.’ ‘She’s really cute,’ I said. ‘Duh,’ Pat said. And the rest is history.” (Actually, he embellishes a whole lot more about it in his blog post “How I met your mother.” It’s adorable. It makes me blush. And I’m quite certain he tells the story way better than it happened!)
Joe likes to spin the story that I was the “prettiest girl on campus.” The kids believe every word he says. And who am I to argue? 😮 He likes to spin the story that I changed his life forever, but the truth is it’s the other way around.
You see, that’s how it is with Joe. When he believes in you, you feel like you have superhuman powers. I don’t know how I was lucky enough to be the one he found in a room full of “cute girls,” but I’m so glad he did.
So, if you’ll indulge me for a bit, I’d like to tell you some of the reasons why I love him…
He is the smartest, most humble guy I know. I like to say, “He’s the smartest guy you’ve never seen on Jeopardy.” Pick anything and Joe knows about it. He could’ve been anything in the world, and he chose to be a teacher. And he wasn’t just good at it; he was amazing. And not just because he is funny, and smart, and a really good story teller, but because he could actually TEACH you things you never knew before. His ability to teach was second only to his ability to impact kids’ lives. He has legions of kids, who are now adults, who still reach out and tell him how he changed their lives. That’s pretty powerful. That’s why I know it was with a heavy heart that he left teaching to become an administrator. Even though he contends that he was ready to leave the classroom, I know he did it for our family.
He is an amazing Daddy. When I was pregnant with Charlie, Joe used to talk to him every day. It was like he knew his other half was growing inside of me. When Charlie was born, I couldn’t be with him right away, so Joe rushed to be by his side. When Joe spoke to him, Charlie stopped crying, looked up and it was like they both realized they had just found their missing piece.
And he’s not just good with Charlie.
Joe is the “calmer of bad dreams and irrational thoughts.” He is usually the one to lie with the kids at night and talk them down from their days. Joe has a way of making even the most absurd fear seem all better just by locking it away in his “magic box.” There is no secret you could tell him and no burden you could bear that he wouldn’t carry right along with you.
He makes everyone feel special. He has been making me feel like the only person in the room since 1998, but the kids, oh, how he loves the kids! He carves out time in his day to do something special with each of the kids. He tells them it’s their choice and he does whatever they want… no matter what. If they want to play imaginary games, then Daddy’s on the floor with them pretending to be “the camel, the scientist and the Komodo dragon.”
He has a million and one nicknames for the kids and little stories to go along with them.
He is the consummate traveler. It is only fair that the daughter of a pilot and a flight attendant should marry someone who loves to travel as much as Joe. He is always looking at maps and reading travel books. There isn’t a place on this Earth he wouldn’t want to travel. He is always up for a new adventure. Even if it’s only right in our back yard.
He is selfless and fiercely loyal. He’s the kind of person who would stay by your side. No. Matter. What. Even if your way is not the easy way or the most popular. Even if the whole world were against you. Even if the Director of Special Ed were yelling in your face. Even if you lost your keys in a port-a-potty. He would never make you feel stupid or alone. In fact, he would convince you of the exact opposite. Almost every day.
Because being with Joe is like being home. No matter where we are.
Happy birthday, Daddy!
Thank you for every day since that fateful day in the Evergreen lounge. I can’t think of a better person for our boys to want to grow up and be.