on the day that we celebrate you

As you know by now, one of the things I gave you for your birthday was a book for our adventures. I made it, although what can be said about making it really, other than buying it and then writing some words and gluing some pictures inside.

The front of the book is a world map, and written in a black sharpie in my best handwriting it reads:  
our adventure book.

The first page is our bucket list together:

Lake Powell
New York
Grand Canyon
Cape Town

The first two are crossed out because we've done them, following which there are decorated pages with some pictures of us at these destinations. The third one on the list is booked and will be crossed out next spring. I have this slight hope that we might be able to squeeze Yosemite in there this fall too. It makes my heart insanely happy, to think about experiencing every one of those beautiful places with you by my side.

And today, today is your birthday.

I think about you often. What an obvious statement, of course, I do live with you after all. But I think about you as a person often, not just you as the other part of me.

I think about you and your childhood. I think about you and your family, the memories you made growing up and the hard times you experienced right alongside the good times. I think about your childhood through stories told numerous times by your siblings and your parents. Stories told around the campfire on family camping trips, around the dinner table at family gatherings. These are stories I've heard many times that maybe I'll never tire of hearing because I can close my eyes and picture them happening right there in front of me. I can picture your towhead and your squinted green eyes and your childhood innocence.

I think about all of those experiences you had throughout the years that molded you and pushed you to be who you are today. All of the times you could have given up but instead you fought. All of the years that created amazing memories for you to hold onto, and all of the years that you waded through the thick mud of life and searched for the road.

I think about you and who you are in your career, day in and day out. I think about how lucky they are to have you working for them, the corporation who takes half of your hard earned paycheck to distribute to taxes and insurance premiums and retirement. I think about how diligent you work and how talented you are at what you do.

I think about life through your eyes and how you must see things. It's intriguing to me to think about this because we are different, you and I. We are often told how beautifully we compliment each other through our differences. We are this well put together blend of just the right ingredients, so that some of the sour counteracts the sweet, and vice versa. You have qualities that I envy ferociously, and I you. There are things about you that drive me crazy, and I you.

Today we celebrate you as a person, because you were born all those years ago. You are brave. You are thin-skinned. You are caring. You love watching documentaries and you eat too much sugar. You are intelligent and strong willed. You are thrifty and you hate having your picture taken. You are funny. You overthink most things. You are talented. You are fun loving. As is with most of us at this age, you have a heart that is slightly callused from experience and life, but beneath the thickness of its jaded skin all you are in there is a kid still. And you let your guard down enough that pretty regularly we get to see that kid at heart.

I didn't marry you for something unobtainable or for a list to check off or a standard to meet or a person to impress. I didn't marry you because I thought it would be easy. I didn't marry you because I was lonely. I didn't marry you because I wanted to have kids. I didn't marry you because I wanted to show off a ring on my finger. I didn't marry you because you passed a religious checklist. I didn't marry you because that's what I was supposed to do.

I married you purely because I met you and consequently I fell in love with you and who you are as a person. Falling in love with you had nothing to do with any outside factors. We saw each other at our very best and our very, very worst while dating, and even so, I had never loved anyone so fiercely as I did you. So uncontrollable, so all consuming, a love that didn't string itself up on practicalities. I could see into your soul and look at the incredible man that you were, against any odds. You constantly made my knees weak and my chest feel like a hundred butterflies were tickling me behind my ribcage. You made me feel silly and drunk and irrational and lovesick, and you became my very best friend above all else. That's why I married you.

And the crazy thing is, since I've been with you I've gotten better and better. Being with you makes me better. I am stronger and more daring in life, I feel prettier and happier. I feel that I improve every single year because you love me. I think that's a good omen of two people who are well for each other, don't you?

I celebrate you for you. For who you are. And you are the person I want to celebrate every birthday with for the rest of our lives. We will get through the thick of these harder years, while the kids are young and the diapers are expensive, just to be rewarded with a bonded family to adventure with forever. And when the boys grow up and leave the house, it will be us again, me and you. We will keep adding to our bucket list and gluing pictures to the pages in our adventure book, long into the future, year after year, birthday after birthday.

I love to celebrate you because I love you. How wonderful it is that you were born then, and how wonderful a person you came to be.

happy happy birthday to my one and only.


p.s. pllleeeaasseeee don't shave your beard.

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