I love this picture of my birthday boy (the bigger one in the picture.) It's the eyes. Look at those beauties and tell me I am not lucky to gaze into them. They are 36 year old eyes now...which makes them older and wiser and full of experience. They would reflect a life well lived, but they are currently too busy reflecting a crazed wife doing the "hand off" at the end of a chaotic day, four energetic children vying for his attention, laundry overflowing from every hamper, and a house that isn't fully put together in spite of aforementioned crazed wife's best efforts. This four children thing is getting the best of her, but he takes it all in stride. No, MORE than that. He jumps in and saves the day-- whisking the kids away, making dinner, cleaning up, rubbing her feet. I'm not even kidding. He's amazing.
This entry is a year overdue. Last year on his birthday I was so overwhelmed at the thought of a birthday tribute to him that I decided to break it into 3 parts. So I posted part one and part two. They were the easy parts because they mostly related the recent trips we had taken together. The third part never got posted because it never got written because it was the hard one. It was supposed to be my attempt at putting into words my love and gratitude for him, and like I said before...I get overwhelmed by that.
So this is a second stab at telling him that he is all that and a bag of chips. See? I'm already flopping! What I really feel brewing inside of me is a sermon about marriage. I promise to keep it short (ish) and the beauty of blogs is you don't even have to stick around if you don't want to. But here is my sermon for the persistent and dedicated readers.
I studied marriage and family in school. It was my intent to be a marriage and family therapist and therefore I had to become an expert on the matter. Of course I wasn't married then, and just like I was a perfect parent BEFORE I had kids, I was a perfect wife in college. It was kind of disappointing to find out once I actually married that I wasn't the perfect wife after all. Even though I theoretically knew the right things to say and do, it didn't mean I said or did them. And to top it off: A marriage between any two people is unlikely to be conflict free...so pair two stubborn people with strong wills and strong opinions, and, well, you're asking for a lot. My vision of the "perfect marriage" I expected to have (being the expert and all) crumbled in the face of reality and it was devastating at first.
But I learned something really important really fast. It is a lesson we are taught over and over in life, I just didn't realize how directly it could relate to marriage. There are many ways to say it, so here are a just a few:
The more you have to work for something, the more you appreciate it. OR,
You get out of it what you put into it. OR,
To whom much is given, much is required. OR,
The greater the effort, the greater the reward.
All stuff I knew, I just didn't relate it to a good and successful union. But now I do.
Author Po Bronson said: "I used to treasure the innocence of first love, now I treasure the hard fought." No words describe our marriage better. I guess I feel OK with bragging a little about our marriage, because WE HAVE EARNED IT! It is strong because we fight for it, and work really hard to make it what it is. It wasn't (and isn't) handed to us on a silver platter...we earn it one spoonful at a time. But man do we reap the benefits when we are willing to pay the price. I think that's why I get all speechless when I try to put my emotions into words. So much has gone into the last nine years with this man of mine that I can't even express my feelings for him. Doesn't mean it's all roses, and it's certainly no piece of cake. But that's exactly why I love him so much. Kind of Adam and Eve-ish I guess. When you know opposition, you can truly cherish the joy.
I just really love my husband. And I feel really, really fortunate to have been led (it wasn't coincidence) to the perfect fit for me.
I treasure it all. Every part of our life together. Every moment. Every memory. Every experience. Every conversation. Everything. And wishing him a happy birthday just can't do my feelings justice.
But I will praise him for driving his car to work this way when he really would have preferred washing it off first.
And that pretty much sums it up.