We were young, dumb, and oh-so-in love. He was 21, and I had just turned 20. We had a whirlwind courtship that surprised no one around us. It just felt right. It was meant to be.
As I look back on the last 14 years, I am struck by depth of my heart that he still holds today. If I had known just how lucky I was on that spring day, I would have shaken that 20-year-old girl with a bad perm and told her that this was the first day of the rest of her life. I would have told her that everything she knew about herself to that point would grow and change over the next few years. I would have warned her that she would move somewhere beyond the life she had known, and that it would challenge her to do things she had never done or even dreamed of.
For him. This skinny, shy boy that came along quite by accident.
Him, the boy she loved with all of her inexperienced heart.
Like the pans and pans of peanut butter bars I made in the cinder block one-bedroom apartment, and how we wondered why both of us were gaining so much weight.
And the quiet drives up the canyon in the white VW Fox, where we planned and dreamed of our future together.
Or the roller blades we thought would be so practical in Minnesota, and how we only used them twice.
But the memories that most fill my mind are the ones we have made as parents, and as a family. I could not have known what an amazing father you would be. You have made our babies your entire world. You gave up golf, a hobby you loved, because you couldn't bear to spend a whole Saturday away from us.
You are a man who walks in the door, never needing to unwind after a hard day at work. You want us. You've missed us. You are not only ready to just be with your family, but you crave it. We know that we are your whole world, and our children are better for it. Your first thought after a long business trip is of me, and providing me with a break from the kids. It's you half the time who suggests a girl's night out. You, who happily takes off work so I can get away for a few days with my girlfriends.
Your unselfish nature is but the tip of the iceberg.
I love that you would do anything for me, if it made me feel pretty. I want new clothes? Go for it. Make-up and makeovers? Whatever I want. Shopping sprees? You deserve it, baby, you say. I know how lucky I am.
I just want you to know that I know it.
I don't always show my gratitude. I know it's hard to hear me complain when you're in another state, working 90-hour weeks for nightmare clients, and I'm whining about trivial, everyday stuff. Problems you'd love to have right at that moment. But to your credit, you take a deep breath, and tell me how sorry you are that I'm feeling that way, and ask what you can do to help.
You never complain or look disgusted when you walk in the door and I've got yesterday's matted ponytail and a pair of sweats on. You smile, hug me, and make me feel as though I'm the most beautiful woman you've ever seen.
You are always supportive of how I spend my time, even when it's going to daytime movies by myself, reading novels, or spending time blogging. I wonder if the tables were turned, could I be as big a person as you are? Could I work so hard knowing this person was being less productive than they could be?
Whatever I do, whatever I say, I am grateful. I am grateful that you support me staying at home. I am grateful that you never question how I spend my time. I am grateful that you love our kids. I am grateful that you love me, in spite of my many flaws. I am so grateful that you were able to look past the fuzzy hair, terrible clothes, and neurotic insecurities 14 years ago and take me as your wife, your partner. I cannot imagine my life without you.
Chiche though it may sound, you really do complete me.
I love you more today than I could have imagined on that early spring morning. Here's to many more years of adventure, laughs, and growth.
I love you,
Your little Stie