As many of you know, I am married to a remarkable being, it is not uncommon that he is referred to as my better half. Not by me (because well someone’s got to try and keep things even keeled) but it has been said that ‘he is the greatest cook’ ‘the kindest man’ ‘great with children’-mostly by my mother!
It is true of course, he is brilliant. He has his downfalls; he doesn’t invest in trash TV anywhere near as much as he should and he can be shocking at remembering birthdays or communicating with those nearest and dearest.
But I wanted to share how much I am challenged and inspired by him and his quiet courage of late. Those that live nearby will know that he manages the community cafe in our area with the wonderful Heidi, it has been the 2 of them since the start (along with a whole tribe of volunteers) The place has been a real hive of activity, and although small in size is incredible in its impact on both sea mills as a community, and beyond!
Today, was Mike’s last day. After over 10 years of being there. A length of time which has included so many changes; getting married, house moves, kids, health challenges, a pandemic and Sea Mills centenary birthday! A lot of our lives have been invested in that old toilet block (that was its previous life!) But also we have gained so much from it, I am sitting here both immensely proud to be a part of it (mainly through Mike) and sad for him that it is ending. Although, it’s not that final, we still live here locally and will no doubt pop in most days to grab a juice/coffee/cake!
But it is a good ending and the right thing and that is where I see real courage in my husband. It is hard to call time on things when there’s nothing wrong. When it’s easier to stay. It takes courage to relinquish the role and realise that maybe someone else needs to take it on from here . Especially when it’s something you love so much.
Anyone who knows us as a couple sees our very contrasting characteristics. I am loud, extroverted and messy, he is quiet, pensive and well he is messy too! He is reserved but he isn’t withdrawn, he actually is a people person (in some ways more than me). He has this amazing skill of just quietly coming alongside (not in a stalker way!) and he really cares, he loves our family and this community.
He loves the older neighbours who have been there everyday chatting to him, the taxi and delivery drivers that come in for their espresso, the new parents who are bleary eyed and rocking (themselves and their babies!), the toddlers whose tables looks like an explosion of snacks and stickers, the regular dog walkers and cake makers, the work experience students, the new-to-the-area group, the working from home crew and the after school hot chocolate and cookie posse. He is not intrusive but he notices them all and has a sly smile, that our 2 year old has also inherited, when he tells me who he has seen that day.
He may not be as passionate about local politics as some but he cares about the people. He also, as am I, is touched by the care we have been shown. The hand me downs, the advice whether on gardening or new born sleep cycles, the meals and treats, the invites and the friendships.
And so we start a new journey, a new rhythm of life to get used to. We are massively encouraged by the wonderful Cassie joining that team, and we are excited for all that lies ahead for the cafe and the community. It confirms that this is the right thing to us.
And to Mike, if you read this, please know that in this time of working out what next I am forever your cheerleader and your biggest fan! (Also I do have a list of things you could crack on with 😉)