Nineteen years. Wow. When I say it out loud like that, it hardly seems possible. It amazes me because I feel like the time with you has just flown by. Weren’t we just two young newlyweds living in a cinderblock apartment and driving a VW Fox?
When I think back to the girl you proposed to, I laugh a little bit inside. She was completely naïve and clueless about life. She was insecure, lonely, and had very big hair. She had never experienced life outside of her small bubble and did not expect great things from herself. She did not even know that she SHOULD expect great things from herself.
I feel that I hardly resemble that girl anymore, and I literally owe that all to you. You saw something in me that I did not even know was there. You believed in me, loved me, pushed me to grow, and gave me the experiences in life necessary to come out of that shell and know happiness. You took me to new cities and forced me outside of my comfort zone. You enabled me to learn how to make new friends.
Your career choice forced an independence on me that I would never have thought possible – and for which, I am extremely grateful. It is this independence that I prize above all talents I possess. I love that. I feel such a sense of ownership and pride that I can support you and manage the home front without (most days) dissolving into a puddle of tears. That I can navigate parenthood, home repairs, school, church, and three busy kids' schedules all on my own. It is probably one of the greatest gifts you could have given me. And one that I would never have attained without you.
I am so proud that our boys have someone to look to with such a strong work ethic. They see how you love me and treat me, and they are learning. They will be excellent husbands because of you. I love that our Hannah can see firsthand what a good husband should look like. She will have high standards and be choosy because she has seen what the best is. And I can’t imagine her settling for anything less.
Thank you for always being the guy that says yes. Yes, when I want to pursue my dreams. Yes, when I want to get away to New York. Yes, when I want to drag our family through Europe, even though a hotel is the last place you want to be. Yes, when I take one ski lesson and think I’m Peekaboo Street. Yes, when I need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent in to. You are quite possibly the most selfless husband there is. You give and give, and ask little in return.
Through all the craziness, the moves, the traveling, the long hours, and the awesome ghetto apartment, know this: You have made all my dreams come true. You have given me the freedom to live my life and be happy. You have never questioned how I spend my time at home, while I know yours is spent working incredibly hard. For me. So that I can stay home and choose how to spend my time.
My day-to-day life is such a gift. And I don’t think that it’s the financial security you have provided (though it certainly doesn’t hurt). But what I think has been the root of my security and happiness is the support I have always felt from you. You value what I do in the home. You value my contribution, and trust it implicitly. You gave me these three beautiful babies, and trusted me to lead them daily toward happiness. It is that trust and sense of secure confidence that makes me strive to be better. To be worthy of your sacrifice. To teach our children the biggest lesson that you taught me, and that is – that they CAN do great things. That they WILL do great things. That they SHOULD do great things.
JDH, I love you more than these feeble words can possibly say. My heart was yours the moment I laid eyes on you in that little house in West Jordan. Something inside me whispered, “Hello, old friend. It’s you...” And there is nothing that I would trade for the happiness we have together. You were meant for me. I needed you and what you could give me in order to find happiness.
It sounds cliché, but you have truly made me who I am today. Thank you for loving me, supporting me, and always making me feel beautiful. Even those times when I am not.
I love you.