Thursday, June 9, 2016

You're The Man. An Open Letter to my Husband on our 15th Anniversary

So, today we've been married 15 years.  Meaning we've been together for 16.  Meaning that I have had Dan in my life as long as I haven't.  

 As much as I don't advocate teen pregnancy or getting married in high school (simply for the reason that things can be more difficult & I'd for sure have been far more equipped to be a parent later in life), I am so grateful God gave me this man. It is only by God's grace that I am here and I have him. 

We were just kids when we met - the day after my Sophomore & his Senior year of high school.  We worked together (at Subway).  He refused to date me at first - he wanted to be my only boyfriend. What kind of madness is that?! ONE boyfriend?! But I like a good challenge. Over time I won him over. 

It hasn't always been easy; growing together rather than apart has taken deliberate, mindful attention at times but loving him is instinct. It comes naturally and effortlessly and consumes me. It's an extension of who I am, of what makes me ME. 

An open letter to my husband,

You are more than the man I fell in love with and married.  You are the man I want my daughters to marry and the man I want my sons to become.  You are the one I come to.  You are the man that makes me laugh every day and allows me to cry anytime. You are the man I built my life with and want to spend all that's left of it with. You are the man that is far more than I deserve.  You, and these children we've made together, are the very best of me.

I love that you make me laugh daily.  While you tend to use fewer words than I do when you do talk it is always profoundly intentional. Funny. Encouraging. Diplomatic. Worth saying. (I don't have that gift.)

I love your beard, your butt, and your laugh.  I love your tattoos and your truck and your well-loved Twins hat.  I even love the way you burp the alphabet.  I love the way you let me choose the movie then listen to sports on your phone anyway - you were just giving me the bigger screen. Unless it's Bones, Brooklyn-99, or an Adam Sandler movie - then you pay attention.

I love the way you grab my boob when I walk by to let me know you still think I'm pretty (you are a man of few words after all).  And how you know I'm crazy OCD and you get to grab the other boob too because it must be symmetrical or I'll implode.

I love how you've accepted I will always sing to the radio and have learned to tune me out and tolerate me.  That you know me so well that you'll score the Sunday coupons from the paper at work because it'll make me giddy.  Instead of teasing me about my odd chapstick obsession you point out that it is on sale this week. I love when you bring me some cool new drink from the vending machine at work because you thought I'd like it.

I love how you give selflessly of yourself to provide for our family.  You work so hard (60-80+ hours a week of hard manual labor) without complaint and still manage to mow the lawn, do the dishes, take out the trash, and bring the kids to therapy appointments.  Thank you for that. You make parking a semi truck at the Pepsi warehouse look sexy.

Thank you for loving me just as I am, right where I'm at.  For letting me be myself all the time. Thank you for seeing all my crazy and loving me FOR it not in SPITE of.  Thank you for telling me I'm beautiful because I so need to hear that.  I love that you will take me to the opera and a Foo Fighters concert (thankfully not on the same day).  That your idea of fun is bringing your kids to a Twins game or playing cribbage with them. Your love for your children shows.

I love that you are a godly man of honor.  That we pray for our family and our marriage.  That you will provide for us at any sacrifice to your own self/sleep/sanity/social life. That you are there to hold my hand in all the hard times (from the vomiting in pregnancy to the birth of that child after they have passed away).

I love the ways you love me - with kindness, respect, trust, understanding, listening, passion, laughter, and fierce loyalty.  I love that when I am with you the most arduous task becomes exciting; folding laundry can be fun, something I look forward to even, if it's done sitting next to you. Life is a series of ordinary moments that make up an extraordinary love story. I'd fold laundry with you the rest of my life.

I love the way you try. You get up, move forward, and hold the rest of us up and carry us when things aren't at their easiest.  We have weathered so many storms together (pregnancy losses, financial & home losses, children with special needs and medical issues among so much more). Thank you for standing beside me in all those moments & emerging with me on the other side, strengthened.

Our love story may not be what great novels are made of, it may not be a box office hit, but we are writing our own love story and I am very much living mine.  A love this real, this intense, happens because we put the effort into it. Romance isn't just the big gestures.  It's in the mundane too. Forever comes from being satisfied in the moments that make up our lives. 

Thank you for showing me that life need not be perfect to be a fairy tale.