Happy birthday, Babe!

birthday

As you all know, I’m crazy.

About my husband, I mean. Crazy about my husband. Slow down.

Almost 16 years ago, this shy, handsome fellow stepped out of his car to meet me for the first time. He’s been letting me disturb his life ever since.

birthday

I’m so thankful for a special day each year to celebrate him for who he is. Not just celebrating him as a dad (though he’s the best there is), not just celebrating he’s still married to me (but seriously, phew!), but celebrating the day God brought him into this world and filled his spirit with dreams, (way too much) logic, tenderness, and just enough stubbornness to be my match.

Yes, on September 30th, some number of years ago, Hubs – or as some of you know him, Brent – was born. Say it with me: Happy birthday!

So the entire rest of this special birthday week (all three days of it), I celebrate you, Babe.

I celebrate your commitment. You stand behind your word, you do what you say you will, and you know your word is just as valuable as your intentions. Your promises are as good as gold, and I love your dedication to me, to your kids, and to your God.

I celebrate your sense of humor. My favorite thing is making you laugh, and sometimes even if I make you laugh by screwing up, it’s worth it to to see you put your hand over your chest, and raise your eyebrows as your shoulders heave from laughing.

I celebrate your values. You’ve overcome things in life that would turn others to the dark side. You, however, used them as stepping stones instead of road blocks, and you’ve based your priorities and placed your values on what matters. You have tremendous discernment in determining what does and does not need space in your life, and you go after them with the right intentions.

I celebrate your sacrifice. The kids and I always know we’re loved and appreciated by you, you work your tail off to provide for us, and you sacrifice your time and interests to make sure we’re all nurtured in the ways we need it. How many times have you come home from work to see a look on my face (or a twitch in my eye) and you simply hand me the car keys and kiss my forehead? You do so much for me I don’t repay, you do so much for the kids they can’t repay, and you never hold it against any of us. You simply keep sacrificing. I can’t tell you how much I admire your selfless expressions of love for us.

I celebrate your friendship. Not just with me, though you are the best friend I’ve ever had. The friendships you’ve maintained for the majority of your life are with people who know the real you, and see you’re a friend they want to keep by their side. I’m not alone in noticing your attributes. Your friends will attest to these same character traits I’m celebrating here, and I can tell you they celebrate them all with me.

I celebrate your practicality. Yes, I said I celebrate it. Just for these three days, though, because most of the rest of the year it drives me bonkers. It is, however, one of your traits that makes you you, and there have been multiple occasions it’s helped me determine some of life’s most elusive answers. So let’s celebrate it. One time.

I celebrate your strengths. You have so many. In addition to the obvious physical strength you harbor (opening jar lids, carrying our Costco contraband, holding the kids and their belongings, and anything else I can stack in your arms), you have tremendous mental strength as well. I especially love when both come together to kill a spider (or a moth, or some other ferocious, disgusting creature with more than four legs). When you set your mind to something, though, you dig in. Even if you don’t like it, you want to see it through. You’re tougher than me, in so many ways, and I celebrate you for that.

I celebrate your quirks. Maybe I should say I celebrate your uniqueness. Quirks like leaving wet towels in the living room, or leaving dirty dishes on the counter cannot – and will not – be celebrated. But I celebrate how very different you are from me, and how very uniquely God created, gifted, and assigned you. And you are so very gifted, Babe!

I celebrate, most selfishly, He assigned you to me. For life. There is no one else strong enough to carry me through the darkest days of my life. No one else brave enough to walk beside me and pull me back in when I started to chase a wild goose or two. No one else patient enough to remain tender and still when I simply needed time and assurance. No one else crazy enough to handle my quirks, bad habits, or snark, and still want to give me a kiss each night and an “I love you” before bed.

Today, and every day, I celebrate you. Happy birthday, Babe. I love you, I’m so grateful for you, and I’m blessed to have married my hero. Here’s to your next year, and everything you’ll accomplish.

Starting with not leaving wet towels in the living room.

Lucky 13: A Post About My Husband

Husband

Husband

I can’t help myself. Every year, on or around my anniversary, I have to write a post about my husband. Because how else will the masses know how amazing he is unless I put it in writing and publish it on the world-wide web?

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary. Thirteen years married, and we’ve been together most of the last 15 years of our lives. I say most, because I broke up with him twice during our dating time. I haven’t always been the rock-solid, emotionally stable woman I am today. Ahem.

We’ve been through it all. We’ve been broke. There were tear stains in our first-ever checkbook register as a couple, because I was circling all the negative signs in front of the numbers when I would balance it. There were several stretches we couldn’t afford groceries, and ate creative meals of whatever we had available in the backs of our cupboards. I remember stocking up on Kool-Aid packets as a treat for us to drink with dinner, and halving the sugar. (which is probably a good idea, anyway.) We were poor. And angry. And hungry. And angry hungry.

We’ve moved furniture together. I don’t know how you were raised, but I witnessed my parents nearly end their marriage every time they had to help each other carry something in the house together. I used to laugh about it afterward, until I had to carry something and move it with Brent holding on to the other end. There is something about lifting heavy objects and moving them from one place to another (through a doorway for added difficulty) that sends all your love and admiration for one another to the deepest pits of the earth. Yet, somehow, we’ve stayed together.

We’ve been on the brink of divorce. Thank God Almighty we never acted upon those distressed, strained, distraught seasons in our marriage. Otherwise I wouldn’t be enjoying the fruit of our lives we have today. Marriage is hard. And no one prepares you for the reality of just how difficult living with another human being is. We have dealt with selfishness and sin on a level we never anticipated, and it nearly broke us up once and for all. Our God is bigger than us, though, and He’s bigger than our egos. He brought and kept us together, and if that isn’t proof He is still a God of miracles, I’m not sure what is.

We’ve buried a child. There aren’t enough words, nor is there enough time, to aptly describe everything we’ve been through as parents. We’ve had to hold one another up through the darkest, deepest sorrows life can throw at a person. Sometimes I feel guilty that he had to endure this because he married me. If he had married someone who was built for birthing children, his heart would never carry this pain. But he married me. And rational or not, it’s a guilt my head has to deal with from time to time. All of that aside, I can’t imagine having anyone else by my side. No one knows me more intimately, no one knows my heart, head, or hurt more accurately than my husband. I hate the fact we’ve had to walk through this at all, but I find comfort in having Brent as the one by my side each step of the way.

We’re not crazy romantics, and I’m sure the last time I gave Brent butterflies in his stomach was when I made dinner using konjac noodles and he nearly gagged to death. But we love each other with a commitment and resolve that took us 13 years to achieve. Each year our love will be different. Our lives will ebb and flow through good and bad, and we’ll adjust and learn and forge ahead. We don’t always like each other, and we’re not always thrilled to be in one another’s company. But we’d be devastated if our company had to part ways for any reason. We still argue. We still disagree. But we also still have fun, still kiss every morning, and still trust God to lead us in life and love until the rest of time.

I believe we serve a God who wants the very best for us, and who loves us more than anything. I believe God put Brent in my life as an act of that outright love. I couldn’t have picked a better person to spend the rest of my life with. I wouldn’t want to try. Brent is my one. Brent is my husband. For better, for worse. In good times, in bad. Till death do us part.

Happy Anniversary, Brent Ryan. I love you more than coffee.