A Note to Michael on his Birthday…

Dear, Michael–

Twenty-four years of life, huh? How do you feel? Probably the same as every year. I sure feel differently about you being 24 now– in a good way, I promise. I remember when we were just starting to be friends while taking Calc. 3 that one summer. We were both 20 years old at the time. I remember thinking how incredibly intelligent you were and admired how much you loved to cook. None of that has changed, especially after three more years of school and everything new you’ve learned about cooking.

I recall that one night after one of my final exams in the winter where I asked you to dinner because I needed to destress. That exam still haunts me, but I remember you more that night. That was the first night after all of our conversations where you made me laugh differently than before. As I was laughing, I had this realization of my feelings for you that I never noticed before.

TWENTY YEARS OLD

Knowing you at 20 years old was such an interesting time. You were so introverted and didn’t talk much. I like to think that I broke you out of your shell by asking you questions to get you to have a real conversation. You didn’t use to think that the details of your day were important to anyone other than you. I loved hearing about those details and I still do. When you were 20 years old, I took you with me to Peru as an early 21st birthday gift. You know better than anyone how much I love to travel and how much I enjoy giving gifts (hashtag: love languages). Right before that trip was the first time you told me that you loved me. Of course I loved you back.

Michael and Stormy Peterson in Peru

TWENTY ONE YEARS OLD

Knowing you at 21 years was another ball game. I embraced your love to create and play music on your parents’ piano and got you the keyboard that you have now. Life gets crazy and I love how you always find your way back to music. I remember the night of your 21st birthday where I strongly encouraged you to go have your first legal drink. That sort of thing tastes sweeter on your actual birthday, in my professional opinion.

During this year of your life, we started putting more intentional work into our relationship and I’m so glad we did. We started to connect on a different level after I got back from that summer in Israel. That was the summer that Mom had liver failure and I thought I wouldn’t see her ever again. You went showed me your true colors when you were 22. These colors painted my heart in the best way.

Michael and Stormy Peterson with eldest cat, Sunny

TWENTY TWO YEARS OLD

Knowing you at 22 years old was interesting because it was a year of change. I remember buying your birthday present while I was at the airport waiting to go visit Grandma is hospice care. This was also the year that Was able to convince you to get Leo, our second fur baby. A lot happened when you were 22, but this is when you started taking a step back from situations and found patience and a sense of calm.

Michael and Stormy Peterson engagement photos

TWENTY THREE YEARS OLD

This is my favorite year of your life, but it’s the year that we got married. We also moved into a bigger place, finished college, started a business together, and adopted baby Ollie. We’ve come so far in our communication and this year felt like a breeze. I think the only thing we really had a dispute about was over whose snacks were whose. You learned to be independent after turning 23 years old. You worked your butt off in school and asked for that promotion at work. You learned more responsibility at the age of 23 years old than you ever needed to before. I’m so proud of you.

Michael and Stormy Peterson at Foster School of Business graduation

TODAY

Today we celebrate 24 years of you being in this world. You’re a cat dad, barista superstar, and on your way to medical or graduate school. I wish you another year of growth in the best ways and a happiness surrounded by love and way too many cats. Cheers to 24 years old and here’s to 120!

Love you always,

Storm Cloud

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