From Dark Room Make-Out Sessions to Puke Clean-Up Sessions; 41 Years of Chad

He’s the best dad, this guy. I mean, he’s a really, really good Dad. He teaches our kids about plants and flowers. He’s taught them to love nature and not to be afraid to pick up creepy, crawly things. In the evening, after a long day, he will pull on his shoes and dribble a basketball or a soccer ball surrounded by all three of them.  They race across the driveway or across the front yard and he relishes the fact that he no longer has to let them win. The other day, I watched as he dribbled past one, two, and three children and dunked a basketball with a whoop and a holler, hands raised to the Heavens, eyes closed, celebrating the victory of a slam dunk over the heads of small people less than half his height. I laughed and told him I’d like to see him play with people his own age. He shook his head laughing as he looked at our eight foot rim that sits just an arms reach away, I’d have to play on a 10 foot hoop. The other day, I watched him show Chanelle the proper way to punch and reminisced about the day when my Dad taught me the same lesson.

I stand back and watch because our ways are different. We are better for it and so our kids. I’m thankful for the father that he is. For his spunk that often combats my more serious tone. For the spontaneity that often challenges my well-laid plans. He’s an excellent Dad and watching him be Daddy has been one of the most rewarding parts of doing life together.

 

But before he was Daddy, he was my friend. My very best friend. The one with whom I chose to do life.

Chad,

Things have changed since those early days. Since those days when we met between your dorm and mine and walked through the buildings of campus talking about nothing important, but to us, the most important things.

Things have changed since we’d sneak into the dark room in the photography lab on campus so we could steal a quick make-out session. (I can’t believe we did that. ) Rebels we were, you and I. (I didn’t even take a photography class in college. . . did you?)

Things have changed since we’d book a flight to Florida and lay on the beach for a week without a worry in the world. (I wonder when vacation will feel like vacation again?)

Things have changed since we lived in a tiny apartment and you juggled your job and I juggled grad school and a part time job and we were soooooo stressed. (Ha!)

A whole lot has changed since those early days. In a way, we’ve grown up together. We were babies back then, weren’t we? Babies! And here we are, marching our way into middle age (you, faster than I, I might add.) and we are still kickin’, still cool (in our own minds only, of course), still doing this family, life, co-habitation thing, together.

As I was thinking about the years, it hit me that I have now known you nearly half of your life. HALF! How is that even possible? Through these years we have built homes and a family. We have built careers and reassessed priorities. Change has been the only constant and through it all, you’ve been the rock. . . the stabling force. . . the one whom I lean on when all the change feels like just too much.

I know I’m already getting too wordy for you. Words are my thing, not yours, I know. I guess I just want to say this. . . in a day when the “me too” movement takes center stage, when women rising up is spotlighted, when a look at the media might make one wonder, are there any good ones out there?. . . I simply want to say this. . .

Chad, I would not be who I am today without you. You have walked beside me in ways that, back in the dark room on campus, I never knew I would need. Back then I had no idea that I would need someone who would clean up the puke of a six year old or the accidents of a puppy, every single time. Back then I didn’t know I needed someone to be there to listen when I muse about my Mom, when the tears fall, when grief surprises me. Back then I didn’t know that a listening ear and permission simply to be was better than a bouquet of flowers or love note. Back then I could not have known that I would need someone who says “you can” when all I feel is “I can’t.” Back then I didn’t know I needed someone to say “It’s okay” when I say “I’m scared” or “I’m confused” or “I’m sad”.

Chad, thank you for accepting me as I am. For never making me feel that I’m broken or that I need to be fixed. For supporting my dreams and cheering me along in every single one of them.

Captured by Chanelle

Chad, I have never not seen the blessing it is to do life with you. I’ve never questioned the gift it was that we flirted, then fought, and then formed a life together. I am proud of a lot of things in this life, but I am most proud to be your wife.

Happy Birthday.

Love,

Me

 

 

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