Thursday, January 22, 2015

Let Me Count the Ways: A Love Letter to My Husband on His 40th Birthday

My husband's 40th birthday is today.  This is my love letter to him:

I've known you for half of your life now, Adam. I met you when you were 20, and I was your dresser for - what play was it? Cat Among the Pigeons? That's not as sexy as it sounds, of course. I just placed your costumes and sprayed your shoes out with Lysol every night. I remember you couldn't hang dress pants properly. Hanging clothes still isn't really a strength.

Today you are 40. You're understandably upset by this new age bracket. This getting older thing is kind of unsettling sometimes. But every year you age has meant more to adore. So, while this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are 40 things I love about you:
1. The gray in your hair. I find it thrilling. It excites me so much to be growing older with the love of my life. There really just aren't words for my visceral response to those gray hairs. Suffice it to say, it is so fucking sexy.
2. Watching you with our kids. We both make tremendous mistakes on a regular basis, what with being human and all. But you are so good at it, too. So full of love and humor and decency and *you're here*, doing it. I know my kids will always have a dad, and as an orphan with two living fathers, I cannot thank you enough for toughing out the rough spots and showing up every day. I get to see my children grow with a relationship that was always missing for me. That is such a gift.

3. Your sense of humor. Even when you're just trying to shock me, and I act irritable because you're being gross, I still love that you to want make me laugh.
4. That you get my dry sense of humor. Usually. I love making you laugh. So much. Sometimes I have to point out that I've just said something funny, because you acknowledging it means a lot to me.
5. That you are strong enough to be my man. That song was on the radio a lot when my mom got sick when we were in college. I know it wasn't easy for you to date someone with such a huge, scary thing going on. But you stuck by my side, you nursed me through her cancer, made me let you take care of me so I could take care of her. You let me grieve her death and be selfish for a long, long time. And when it was time to try to come out of my funk, you found a Hospice support group for me that made all the difference in the world. I don't know how I could have survived it all without you.
6. Magoo.

7. Sweet Pea.

8. Bellybean.

9. Your support of me as a breastfeeding advocate. It brings us no money (in fact I spend money on it), but you respect that this is my work. You are more involved in it than I think the majority of people are involved in their spouse's work. I couldn't do even half of what I do if it weren't for your support.
10. Your monstrously large feet.
11. Your ridiculously huge head.
12. Your scruff, when you have it. So hot.
13. That we have the same taste in entertainment. I adore watching TV with you. I remember having boyfriends in high school with whom it was hard to find a video to rent (because we used to do that, at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video - my, how times have changed since you started getting old!). We're always on the same page. Love that!

14. Sex. It has just gotten better over the years - which is saying something, cause it started out great. You are skilled, my love.
15. Pet names. I'll never forget the first time you called me sweetheart. It was the first time anyone had, at least any guy friend. You were pretending to be my boyfriend as we made our way out of a nerve-rattling experience with a homeless guy who wanted to show us his knife. "Come on, sweetheart," I think you said. I wasn't afraid of him. I (thought I) knew he wouldn't hurt us. But I was completely willing to play the role of your girlfriend as we made our exit.
16. Our courtship. Crazy shit we did to impress each other - breaking into an abandoned school, jumping the fence at the city pool. Fun times.

17. Your number one goal in life. You told my mom, before she died, that your number one goal in life is to make me happy. I feel like that's still true. And you do.
18. That thinking about how effing much I crazy-love you, writing it down, has me in tears. (It's a lot. I love you a lot).
19. I love your cooking. Particularly fond of your lasagna and your burritos, boy. I love that you DO the cooking. That we are in a relationship with, if not equal task-sharing (cause I don't always feel I'm doing enough!), then certainly an attempt at balance.
20. Your music. You are the soundtrack to my life. Not everyone is as insanely lucky as I am, to have a personalized soundtrack.

21. I love the movies you make with our boys. They are such treasured memories.
22. The way you love me. Unconditionally. I always know you love me. And considering how awesome I think you are, I must be pretty awesome, too. It's a nice reminder, when I'm down on myself. You love me, therefore I am awesome.
23. I love your writing. Gotta say, I was scared when, after a lifetime of hating writing, you suddenly announced that you wanted to support our family as a writer. But you rock it. So much cleverness.
24. How you support our family. It's amazing to me that we have the freedoms that we have, thanks to your hard work.
25. How you prioritize our family. You work hard, but you play hard, too. You don't miss important kid events, and you spend a fantastic amount of time with our kids even when it's not a special event like a field trip or a scary doctor's appointment.

26. Your interest in... everything. You are always listening to podcasts, always learning new things.
27. Your politics. Not sure how we'd manage if they were otherwise!
28. Your spirituality.
29. Being held by you. I feel so safe in your arms. Spooning.
30. Your habit of doing the dishes every night. It's life-changingly awesome.
31. Kissing you. Since that first, slooooooooow lean-in, giving me every chance to shy away and preserve our friendship. But you were my Harry, and I wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of my life kissing you.

32. Your mad gift-giving skillz. I love that you are so tuned in to people that you are amazing at thinking up lovely gifts to give them.
33. Including me! I adore the special antiques I get each Christmas. They're always so meaningful. (Except maybe for the oil can. I can't remember what that one was about.)
34. Your empathy. Your emotional intelligence. You're brilliant.
35. That you've wanted to wear our babies. ‪#‎APDadsAreHot‬.

36. Your hair. It's so thick and gorgeous. I love to run my fingers through it...
37. Your eyes. I'll never forget staring into them while I was in transition delivering Milo, blowing your hair off of your forehead - trying to focus on you, and not the excruciating pain and the undeniable-but-too-soon NEED to push. Your eyes have never been more beautiful to me than in that moment. And those same eyes watched me birth our other two children, too, and were amazed at my strength and power. Never afraid of it. You are too strong and good to fear powerful women.
38. That you're as crazy as me. That we live life, at least sometimes, full throttle. Disneyland visits are best from open to close. October is best with Halloween events every weekend - and in themed costumes, as a family. And you're a geek like me. Because geek is chic, baby. I love all of our geeking out moments together - watching Doctor Who, bingeing on Battlestar Galactica, a Lord of the Rings marathon, wearing costumes to Race for the Cure that one year when we still did the Race...

39. That you're crunchy like me. AP like me. A feminist like me. We have so much in common - it makes living with you easy.
40. That you know how to rest and relax. You balance my frenetic, overdriven work ethic.
And one to grow on - I love you for this beautiful life I am so privileged to live. Everything I love is part of my life because you are part of my life.
Thank you, Adam. Thank you for being the great love of my life.

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