Your daddy and I are part of a love story.
Not the kind Jane Austen wrote about, or one that will ever be featured on a movie. The kind of wonderful love story that happens in real life when two people come together and magic is the result.
It started on Christmas day on a bus on the way to San Antonio in college. We watched the Buffs lose, had our first date at an overpriced restaurant on the Riverwalk and took a boat ride. When we got back home, your daddy asked me the first question I'm really glad I said yes to.
And in the ten years that have followed, we've had quite an incredible journey. We finished college. We got grown up jobs. We bought a house and fixed it up. We lived on one income so I could get my Master's degree. We got married. Twice. We had a gorgeous baby girl and watched her grow. We did all those crazy things in 2012. And, of course, we've been blessed with another amazing little life.
That's a heck of a decade.
I'd like to think we've learned a few things along the way.
So, in no particular order, in honor of our 10 year anniversary, here are ten things I absolutely adore about your father:
He always opens doors for me. 'Cause he's like that. I'd like to tell you he did this throughout our whole relationship, and perhaps he did. But even more meaningfully, he has always - always - done it since Leah was born, because I tend to have my hands full.
He supports my dreams. When I told him I wanted to go back to school and quit my job, he was my #1 cheerleader. There was no hesitation, just a sincere desire to make it work. When I wanted to try for a baby - waaay ahead of when we had talked about - he was game.
We can always talk it out. I won't tell you that we don't fight. We do. Everybody does. But the thing I love about your daddy is that we both try - hard - to fight with dignity and respect. The goal isn't to win the argument, because where there is a winner, there has to also be a loser. The goal is always to talk it out, even when we don't see eye to eye. To come to a mutual understanding that works for both parties.
He makes sacrifices for his family. This is such a big deal to me. This is the highest calling of a man, in my opinion. God charges him with loving his family as He loved the church; in other words, enough to give up his life. Your daddy understands and embraces this, and is a dedicated husband and father. That kind of man should be celebrated and admired.
He holds my hand in public. And sits on the same side of the booth with me at a restaurant. And snuggles with me when we sit on the couch.
He never laughs at my crazy ideas. Like when I said, "hey, we should build a desk." Instead of scoffing at how much work that would be, he thought about it for a moment and responded, "we could do that." I love that about him. If it won't work, he'll tell me, but not before genuinely considering all the possibilities that might make it work. Our skills and strengths compliment one another's beautifully; we are a much stronger whole than the sum of either of our individual parts.
He changes diapers. And does dishes. And laundry. In other words, he doesn't think that all the "home" things are the sole responsibility of me, the wife. Real men do those things, because they understand that they're part of a partnership that's only as good as what each person puts in.
He likes home as much as I do. We could go out. He could have boys' night and play poker or pool. (I'm sure sometimes he wants to.) But much more often, he'd rather stay home, give babies a bath and enjoy our family and the life we've created. We're both that way, thankfully.
He wants to be a good husband and father. I say "wants to be" not because he isn't both of those things, but because good husbands and fathers are not born, they are made. Made through hard work and effort. Through mistakes. Through tears of sadness and joy. Through understanding that the job of a husband and father is every bit as important and takes every ounce as much effort as what he puts into his career. Miss Leah: Don't sacrifice for anything less in a husband than a man who understands this and lets that desire guide his actions and thoughts. My darling boy: You have a wonderful example in your father. Follow him, and remember that a family is the greatest blessing God can give you. Don't take it for granted.
He makes me feel loved every day. He tells me with his words and shows me in his actions. He brings me flowers for no reason. He thinks I'm beautiful, and he never, ever oogles other women in my presence. He is my best friend and my partner. He makes me laugh, and doesn't make me cry. He makes my dreams come true. That sounds like a lot of reasons, but they are all ways in which he confirms his love.
I often say what a lucky momma I am. And there is no doubt, it's true. But I hope I also say enough what a lucky, lucky woman I am to have such an incredible man to spend my life with.
He was wonderful when I met him as a 19 year old boy. But now, he is better than I could have ever imagined. We are both better than I could have ever imagined. We have grown together. We have found strength in one another to overcome life's obstacles.
On our wedding day, we heard these words:
" Let me charge you both to remember that your future happiness will be found in mutual consideration, admiration, and affection. It is the duty of each to find the greatest joy in the company of the other; to speak in wisdom, not in anger; to always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere. Rejoice in life’s seemingly small, imperfect moments, as it is these moments that will one day make up the rich tapestry of your lives. May you never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience the miracle of knowing, 'Out of all this world, you have chosen me.' When life on Earth is done, may you be found then as now, hand in hand, still thanking God for one another."
I thank God for you every day. Thank you for the best decade.