The one day a year I'm allowed to say I love you

Somewhere in the ballpark of 5 years ago, I was sitting on a stoop with my friend Heidi and this car drove by. It was a little red car and inside it was a boy. In a blue suit. It drove past us and I did that neck-craning thing guys do at nude beaches, and then I looked at Heidi and asked if she saw it, too. She did. All I said was this, "Dude, that is seriously the hottest guy I have ever seen." She uh-huhed.

Turns out, that guy had the parking spot next to mine and the apartment upstairs from mine and just enough room in his life for me and a couple kids.

But, truth be told, I was totally wrong. That 24 year old boy in the car is not the hottest boy I've ever seen. The 29 year old man that loves my children and sits in hot tubs with me talking about philosophy and religion and social revolution and whose dog totally tries to make out with me, that is the hottest guy I've ever seen.

Today, Chris, you turn 29. That means that we have been stuck with each other for 5 years. I have watched you very carefully over the past years, and I have learned that we are about as two different people as you could find. I'm fairly social, you're, well, not. I can remember your name, even when I'm drunk. You have a college degree and a great job that you love. I graduated high school and threw on an apron. I have a gaggle of children, you have a dog. You like red walls, I like orange ones. You plant thyme where I'd plant mint. You lean a bit to the right, me a bit to the left. On the surface, one would be left to wonder what the hell we have in common that would make us even the remotest of acquaintances. But there is something, something deep down at the core of the people that we are, and that makes us perfect. We are moved by the same things, we share essentially the same belief structure. We both love to cook and walk your dog and play with my kids and watch off-beat movies and play music and do the crossword. We both believe in family and home and quiet. Our differences compliment each other in an extraordinary, rare sort of way you don't find every day.

We have this very rationed, mitigated relationship, you and I. There are definitely some very high boundaries that we have set up for each other. People who see us out at the same place wonder if maybe we are distant cousins or friends of friends of friends. I can't begin to explain it or understand it myself, but I love our calm little quiet friendship and I just don't need to shout it from rooftops. I have made a series of questionable choices in my 32 years, but you; creating a relationship with you, with all its ups and downs, finding a way to bring you into my family and finding a place in yours, you have been one of the smartest things I've ever done. My children will be much better people having you as a godfather and a role model. And don't think they don't look up to you and worship the ground you walk on; they most certainly do.

I have watched you grow and transform from a boy with his arms outstretched, searching for his place in the world, into a confident, sure, talented, frighteningly beautiful man who makes the world a better place just by being in it. And I have to say that I am more honored than I could ever tell you to have been seated backstage through a few of your sets.

No matter where you go, or what you do, I promise you that I will always be quietly sitting right there, in your corner, with a bottle of Beam and the daily crossword. And I think that just maybe you might also be in mine. And I don't think I could ever need anything more than that. I love you, kid.

Yours in Christ,