Blog,  Personal Story

Get to Know Michael

I asked my husband if he wanted to write this post, and he kind of chuckled. “How about you write it and I’ll proof it?”

Sounds like a plan. Then I changed my mind. He probably wouldn’t approve of what I say. Not because it would be negative, but because he doesn’t really like too much public praise. So disclaimer, I’m writing about him without his prior approval of the post.

It is kind of hard to write about yourself, especially when you don’t like to talk about yourself. My husband is very humble, and he doesn’t ever like to highlight his accomplishments. But to me? He’s done some pretty amazing things.

Michael is originally from a little one stoplight town in South Georgia. How we met is a whole other post.

He served in the Army National Guard as a Medic. He served a tour of duty in Iraq as a front line medic in 2005-2006. I’m very proud of his service to our country.

After getting out of the military he went back to college and earned his degree in Business/Marketing. He was a bit of an overachiever with a double major. Since graduating he has worked as a sales rep and a couple of different positions at our local hospital. While he no longer works in the clinical side of medicine, his knowledge from serving in the military is utilized everyday. It’s helped him have a greater understanding of how the business and medical side work together at the hospital.

His experience in the military has influenced a lot of his life. He joined the Army National Guard because of his grandfather, who also served in the Army National Guard. He had already decided to join the Army National Guard and then September 11, 2001 happened. After that horrific attack, he knew his decision would most certainly mean serving overseas. He still joined.

I was introduced to my husband while he was serving in Iraq, and I got a unique perspective on his time there because I was a stranger. I had no knowledge of pre-Iraq Michael. And because he wasn’t a friend or family member, I felt like I could tell him anything without judgment. It’s strange how willing you are to open up to a stranger in ways you never would to people you know. I believe the very different circumstances of how we met, helped us bond quickly and kept us from putting on fronts to “impress” each other. I promise, in the future I’ll give the full story.

My husband is a MacGyver of sorts. I absolutely love that about him. I have to give an example of his MacGyver skills from our first trip to Quebec.

We were sitting outside at Manoir Montmorency, a restaurant overlooking Montmorency Falls, Quebec waiting on our food when two older ladies were brought to a table near ours. They were dressed to the nines, and embodied elegant grandmothers. After they were seated, the waiter handed them both menus and walked away. All of a sudden the patio umbrella over their table slammed shut, startling them. They tried to open it, but couldn’t. It was a very hot and sunny day, and they were getting frustrated with the umbrella. My husband got up without a word and went over to their table. He found a packet of plastic utensils and pulled out a fork, broke it in pieces and opened the broken umbrella. He stuck a piece of the fork in the lock mechanism, and placed another piece near the bottom of the umbrella pole. The umbrella stayed open. The ladies laughed and smiled. They didn’t speak much English, but thanked my husband calling him the “American MacGyver,” in their thick French Quebecois accents. That’s my husband to a tee. He’s analytical and a problem solver. He also never hesitates to help someone, friend or stranger.

Montmorency Falls, Quebec 2016

Are you familiar with the fictional character Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst and occasional Field Officer (among other things) from Tom Clancy’s novels that’s been featured in many movies and portrayed by many actors? The first movie featuring Jack Ryan was The Hunt for Red October (1984) and he was played by Alec Baldwin. Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine have all played Jack Ryan in movies. If you’re not familiar with the movies, then maybe you’ve seen the Jack Ryan series on Amazon Prime (which we love).

I believe John Krasinski who plays the character in the Amazon Prime series does the best portrayal. But I may be partial to how he plays the character, because his rendition of Jack Ryan aligns most closely with Michael’s personality. He embodies the “Jack Ryan” that Michael would be if he were Jack Ryan in real life.

Île d’Orléans, 2018

Michael also has a way of talking to anyone and getting them to not only smile, but open up. He’s completely changed my views on travel and what I enjoy most about traveling. You don’t have to ask me twice to travel. It’s in my blood and its literally a lifeline for me. My husband isn’t as much of a travel bug as me, but when I hatch a plan he never hesitates to go along with it to wherever my heart desires.

When I started traveling with Michael, I noticed his ease in interacting with strangers we’ve met wherever we travel. I have so many memories of conversations with taxi drivers, store attendants, subway riders, elevator and train passengers, people we stand in line with, and the Indian family he offered to sit at our table with us because there was nowhere else in the restaurant to sit. They were visiting from New Delhi and it was so much fun sharing stories with them over pizza in a crowded Magic Kingdom restaurant.

I have stories for a lifetime of so many different people from so many different walks of life. Stories I would have never heard without him, because it’s truly a gift (one I don’t have as an introvert) to speak to anyone and get a positive response. There’s just something about his demeanor and personality. It might be that Southern charm, but I think it’s more than that. I believe he speaks to people in a way that makes them feel seen.

Those conversations are now what I treasure most of all about our past trips and look forward to experiencing and collecting as I plan our next trip.

Brooklyn Bridge, 2018
Photo after a long conversation with an Art Vendor on Rue du Trésor , Quebec City, 2016

He’s also a pretty awesome “Girl Dad.” He’s very hands on with both of our daughters and has never shied away from any of the responsibilities in helping with them. He’ll play with Barbies, My Little Ponies and Peppa Pig, all with the appropriate character voices. But he’s also not afraid to change a diaper or take a potty-training toddler to a public bathroom.

He loves to read to our oldest at bedtime and let the girls work with him out at the farm. He wants them to be included as much as possible in building and connecting with the farm.

When I set out to write about my husband, I had something totally different in mind. I was going to give a little background and a few fun facts, but the words carried me in a different direction as I delved into my cherished memories, pulling me toward all the reasons why I love him.

One Comment

  • Kaye Clayton McNeill

    I believe you know Michael Tyler very well! A great write up on him. I think he should complete the writing about you. Love you all.

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