I vividly remember the day we met at the Panera in Waterford Lakes. I was so nervous that I think I talked the entire first date and I don’t remember all of the likely nonsense that I spewed the entire time. Yet, you overlooked that as you overlook so many things. You saw through the babbling idiot I was that night and I’m so thankful for that.
The last nearly 11 years of marriage and a few more of knowing you through being engaged and getting to know each other have been intense and fraught with challenges. At the same time, knowing that we each have a partner in handling job loss, infertility, buying, selling and renting houses, family challenges, children, surgeries, health issues, family health issues and all of the other awe inspiring experiences that have happened to us, can often make the difference between a breakdown and a breakthrough.
Just writing the list of all the things we have weathered in our relationship reminds me how lucky I am to have a real partner in all of that. I’ve never felt like I was facing any of our challenges alone. When we’ve needed to make changes, to adjust, to pivot, you are always in the thick of it, always joining me in whatever we have to do. Nothing can be a better example than your choice to leave Orlando with me and the boys and live with my parents after I was diagnosed. You put me and our marriage above yourself and your comfort, something you do naturally and regularly.
As I shared during my toast at Anna’s wedding, you showed me in the biggest and best way that you love me. Ours is not the love story of grand gestures and high peaks and correspondingly low valleys. Our love story is quiet, steady, consistent, loyal, true, trustworthy. Our love story is like us.
Two years ago on your birthday, we were living with my cancer diagnosis but did not yet know that I am terminal. This is the second birthday we’ve been together since we received the news that you will likely be a widower and our children motherless with it 2 to 3 years of my diagnosis. Despite the fact that we’ve both been struggling with this reality, you have put up with all of the things I’ve done and said in order to cope. You’ve given me the room to do what I need to do.
Know this, no matter what happens, no matter where we are tomorrow or 10 years from now, our love is forever. I will always love you and want the best for you, no matter where I am. I may not always show it, but you are pretty freaking good at this husband thing and even better at the father role to our two boys. Our boys, as well as I, know that you love them in visceral and tangible ways.
On this day of celebrating your entry into the world and every day, know that the boys and I love you, truly, madly, forever, bigger much (per M). We appreciate all that you are and everything you bring to our family.