In addition to Troy's 30th birthday surprise trip to San Francisco to watch the Red Sox game, I had one more present for him to open on our sunrise flight.
I made him a hardbound book full of pictures from his life and messages from people he loves. It was a lot of work to gather all the messages, sort through thousands of pictures, and compile each page, but it was so worth it. Even if I had to stay up till 2am the whole first week we were in Michigan to finish it on time for printing.
I went deep into his life and had his close friends, co-workers, extended family members, and even childhood friends write messages. He couldn't believe the range of people I contacted.
My favorite part of the messages flooding in to my inbox was the realization that Troy is so loved. Of course I love him and think he's great in a biased wife sort of way, but having this book full of evidence that he has touched countless lives makes me so happy.
Without revealing the gushy parts of messages (Troy would not appreciate that), here are a few of my favorite excerpts from friends and family:
- What is the size limitation? Because 5 years of 11+ hour days is a lot of material. Besides our weddings, I think we have experienced all major adult life events on these desks.
- I often joke with one of our cousins about how he taught me to be nerdy. You taught me how to be cool!
- I look up to your incredible determination and conviction in life. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to doing something.
- One of my favorite memories of you was actually when you were hundreds of miles away and I was putting in a "good word" for you with Lindsey.
- I enjoy our movie nights together, watching fights, discussing world economic conditions, dinner dates with our wives, and, of course, trying to invent the next big money maker with you. Someday we will do it.
- Who else in our family can find excitement or entertainment in a progressing beat, a sweet treble line, and an epic drop? These are what are most important in life and no one seems to get it but us!
- We always have so much fun getting together with you guys. I always know that there will be lot of laughs and it will just be a fun, relaxing good time.
- So, let me get this right. You are now 30 with 3 kids and a house, a respectable professional, and a high priest. You might as well retire since not much more will change during the rest of your life.
- I'm looking forward to more fight nights, movie nights, cabin lounging, lunching and all-night partying that lasts until at least 10pm, even if it is a work night.
- I will forever and always cherish the friendship I have with you and Lindsey and can't wait to keep sharing in the joys and tears of raising our crazy three boys together.
- In general, our favorite thing about you is your quick wit and sarcastic sense of humor. In recent years, as we have gotten older, we have come to appreciate your enthusiasm for business. We can't so much as eat at a fast food restaurant without an animated discussion on the franchise.
- I love how your mind works and how you are a random wealth of information.
- Still don't have the million dollar idea for us. Hopefully I'll have it for your 40th.
- I remember vividly the day, I think you were five, that you were not pleased about being tucked in for a much needed nap. As I was leaning over to give you a kiss I was astonished when you announced, "I don't want to be a man!" Well, you are a man and how things have changed! Now you LIKE naps and look forward to the opportunity to have one, though they surely don't come often enough.
- In your life you have danced in knee socks and knickers, put chopsticks up your nose in Taiwan, got paid for seeing a moose, and spoke to the congregation with an apostle (Elder Uchtdorf) on the stand. You've eaten several Parker Maple Barn specials, been to Girls' Camp, sung with the "boat people" en route to the Bahamas, had all-you-can-eat ice cream at Harvard, danced at a gubernatorial ball, cut a CD with a solo in Spanish and lived to see the Red Sox break "The Curse." All of this and a myriad of other activities and you're only 30! What's left?
- You have lots of cousins—79 of them with all but two on the Tanner side. One of the unique things about you is that you relate extremely well with everyone of every age and walk of life including all these cousins and of course your many uncles and aunts. It could be said of you; “nobody doesn’t like Troy Tanner!” You have an uncanny ability to connect with others. Many have commented on how genuine you are, both funny and fun to talk to, and a good friend.
- Did we mention that the best gift you have given us is three perfect grandsons?
The book reconfirmed to me how lucky I was to snag him up. I am honored to be the one who gets to call him "mine." Even if he's my old man now.
One of our friends said it best when describing his advancement in age:
"Living life on the divide between naive youth and responsibility-ridden middle agedness is a fine balance between rocking the world twenties style and attending to mounting pressures and responsibilities of mid-life. I wish you all the success you can find at the former without forsaking the latter."