My husband is turning 30 today.
1. Now he can stop calling me Mrs. Robinson because we are the same age again. (I’m exactly two months older than he is, to the day.)
2. We have now been together for literally half of our lives. We started dating when we were 15. And now we’re “old” and married and have three kids.
You might think it is impossible for a 15-year-old girl to know with certainty that her high school sweetheart is the man she will marry, but I swear that I did. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. I knew he was “the one” for approximately 80 million reasons, but since today is his 30th birthday, I’ll start with just that many. In no particular order:
1. Integrity: Since we were teenagers, Eddie has always done exactly what he said he would do, when he said he would do it. If he told me he would call me at 6:30 and something came up, he would find a way to get to a phone anyway (this was back before everyone had cell phones) and call to say he wasn’t going to be able to talk right now after all, but that he would call later. And then he did.
2. Honesty. Even if it is something I’d rather not hear, I would still rather hear it from him. I can’t remember a time he has ever lied to me. (Other than this little white lie, which in retrospect, I guess is sort of funny.)
3. Ambition. At age 15 he knew he wanted to be an engineer and I knew that one day he would achieve that goal. And he did.
4. Work Ethic. I have never, ever met a man with a stronger work ethic than my husband. One summer when we were in college he worked four jobs at the same time. He would mow lawns, do construction work, read meters for the gas company, and referee volleyball games. In high school he had an after school job with the custodial staff mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms. No job has ever been beneath him. I’ve always known that he would do whatever he had to do to provide for the family we built together.
5. He believes in me. I am a woman with big ideas. It is not unusual for me to come to him with an idea like, “Let’s move to Florida.” “Let’s adopt a kid.” “I think I want to start a community toy library.” “I think I want to start a national blog conference.” The list of my big ideas is pretty long. But he always helps me take the best ones and puts in the work behind the scenes to help me make them realities.
6. Patience. I know Eddie doesn’t consider himself a patient man, but he has put up with the likes of me for 15 years. And, believe me, he knows how to delay gratification. Whether it was as a teenage boy not pushing me to do anything physical, or now as a grown man who is still waiting for the pick up truck he’s wanted for over a decade, but won’t buy until we can pay for it in cash, he has more patience than he believes.
7. Self-Control. When we were 15 we came up with a list of things that we would never say to each other in a fight. And there have been plenty of fights, but to this day we still haven’t said them.
8. Physical Strength. This probably isn’t very P.C. of me to say, not that I’ve ever really cared much about that. I have watched my husband grow from a boy into a man who is large and strong enough to make me feel protected. I know that, if he had to, he would fight hard to protect this family.
9. Organization. I am, for the most part, the scattered and creative type. He is the one who organizes files, creates spreadsheets, and keeps tracks of appointments around here.
10. Loyalty. I have never been the jealous kind, but this might only be because I’ve never had to be. My husband is loyal. Not only to me, but to his friends and his family and his job.
11. He plays the guitar. I mean, come on. Watching your man’s wedding ring move up and down a fretboard is pretty hot.
12. And he’s pretty darn good at sports. You should have seen the kid spike a volleyball when we were in college. It was actually a tiny bit scary. It’s also extremely hot to see exactly how much power your man is capable of, and see the contrast to how gentle he always is with you.
13. He’s a natural leader. Whether as the captain of a high school sports team, the president of his college fraternity, or now as an adult managing projects and people- or this family- he’s a strong and fair leader.
14. Faith. Our faith has always been an important part of our lives, since we were teenagers in Catholic school, traveling to youth conferences and doing Campus Ministry projects. It is stronger now and it has been an amazing thing to watch Eddie grow in his.
15. He will do the unpleasant stuff with me. Even when I was breastfeeding, Eddie woke up for every single night feeding. Every. Single. One. He would get up, bring me the baby, then go back to sleep until she was done eating. Then he would wake back up and take her to the crib. It didn’t matter to him that he had to get up and go to work and I didn’t. He knew I needed that emotional support. When Penny went through a phase where she wouldn’t sleep in her crib and I slept with her on the couch so that I could nurse her throughout the night, he slept in the living room with us, and we would take turns holding her all night. Because he knows sometimes all I need is for him to just be there.
16. He notices things. If you got a new haircut or if you look sad today, I might not notice. But he will. And chances are he’s the one who reminded me to call you for your birthday or to congratulate you about your new job.
17. He puts up with my idiosyncrasies. I’m slightly neurotic. (Who isn’t?) So, this man will patiently sit up in the middle of the night and let me slide over his side of the bed instead of getting up on my own side to walk around the room to get to the bathroom, just because I hate walking past mirrors in the dark. Mirrors are creepy at night, ok? Why don’t we just switch sides, you ask? Because I need him to be the one who sleeps closest to the door, obviously.
18. He eases my fears. In case you couldn’t tell from that last item on my list, I have a lot of anxiety. Like, a lot. He is the one who can read my eyes and stop a panic attack before it starts. He will take my hand and whisper, “It’s just the landing gear,” when he sees me get that look in response to a clicking noise on an airplane.
19. He can and will do it himself. Sometimes this can irritate me slightly (like when it took three years to finish the kitchen in our last house), but Eddie won’t pay anyone to do anything he can do himself. He cut our lawn with a push mower when we lived in Florida and it was 100 degrees every day and the grass needed to be cut twice a week. We were both working and could have afforded the lawn service that everyone else on our block was using, but he wouldn’t go for that on principle. Because he believes that if you are physically capable of doing something yourself, then you should. And he does. I often say that as long as I have him, I’ll be ok in the zombie apocalypse. Fix a motor, catch and clean a fish, build furniture, code me a new website from scratch…whatever. It’s all in a day’s work.
20. He’s encouraging. It is not unusual for me to call him at work and say something along the lines of, “Hey, you know that miter saw in the garage? How do I change the angle? Is it this black knob thing on the side?” He’ll usually patiently ask if I can please wait until he gets home so that he can show me. And I’ll usually say no and try to figure it out myself anyway. But he rarely gets upset with me for using “his” tools or “his” computer stuff (unless I break something after he asked me not to touch it- which happens more often than I’d care to admit). He will teach me the difference between the drill and the impact driver and show me how to write code for something specific I want to do on the website. And then he’ll show me again a week later because I totally was not paying attention the first time. He does the same thing for the kids, teaching them new skills all the time.
21. He’s always been good at sharing. This was one of the hardest parts about navigating a new marriage for me. And it was hard again when I stopped working and was no longer contributing financially. But it has never seemed hard for him. To Eddie, it has always been our money, our stuff, our lives. Even something as personal as his sock drawer, he will always be willing to share with me. Remember that story?
22. He’s a great dad. He just is. If I’m not feeling well on a Sunday morning, he will still get all three of the kids to church on time by himself. He will change his work schedule to show up for doctor’s appointments or Christmas concerts or the first day of school. He will ride roller coasters together with the kids or not force them on the daughter who doesn’t want to ride. He’ll wear the Olaf hat in public.
23. He can talk to anyone. I am not skilled at the art of conversation. If I don’t know you and you try to talk to me, it’s going to be awkward. But Eddie can talk to anyone about anything for hours at a time. He puts people at ease and helps them open up- which is the same thing he’s been doing for me for 15 years.
24. His enthusiasm is catching. I would have never started watching The Walking Dead or listening to certain bands or even writing this blog without his love of music, zombies, and all things related to the internet.
25. This blog was his idea. Eddie started a small blog for our family back in 2007. He knew how much I liked to write and encouraged me to create a blog of my own- to carve out my own space on the internet. I honestly didn’t think anyone would care enough to read it, but he kept telling me words were my gift and it is selfish and wasteful to receive a gift and not use it.
26. He’s, like, really smart. He was the youngest kid in our high school taking college calculus classes and he beat my score on the SATs by a good 100 points. (And I’m no dummy, I did manage to score myself a full academic scholarship to college.) He’d probably score higher than I would on an IQ test, but he’s smart enough not to take one whenever I suggest we try it. However, you would never know any of that stuff if you met him on the street, because he won’t ever make you feel like he’s talking down to you.
27. I honestly can’t think of many vices. I have friends who worry about their husbands drinking too much, looking at pornography, or going out to “gentlemen’s clubs.” I’m very happy not to be able to relate to those conversations. I’m being 100% truthful when I say that, after 15 years together, the worst thing I can say about my husband is that he tends to over-commit himself to too many sports teams at a time. And once or twice a year he might smoke a cigar. I can’t remember one night in our marriage when I didn’t know where he was or what time he was coming home. He’s the one who insists we keep our tv and our computers in common areas. It took me 14 years to convince him to let me have a tv in our bedroom, and it still isn’t hooked up to the cable. While he might have a few drinks at a party occasionally, he has never, ever gotten drunk enough in my presence to need me to take care of him.
28. He still surprises me. He did make my 30th birthday weekend pretty stinkin’ incredible this year, but the little things are more important. It could be a candy bar on my pillow or boycotting the NFL and refusing to watch any football games at all this year- which is a HUGE sacrifice for him-because he was so disappointed by how his team (the Baltimore Ravens) handled the situation with Ray Rice, he still does things all the time that surprise me and make me happy that he is mine.
29. We share the same ridiculous sense of humor. I can’t even count how many times we will start laughing hysterically about something that no one else in the world would think was funny. When people ask why we are laughing and we try to explain, they usually just say, “oh” and look confused. I wish I could think of specific examples, but it doesn’t really matter anyway, because you wouldn’t think they were funny. Almost every day one of us reminds the other that it’s a good thing we found each other, because no one else would understand. It might just be the way someone said something that triggered the same ridiculous, inappropriate joke in both of us. We often have to avoid eye contact with each other in church. It’s not at all unusual for one of us to look straight ahead and whisper, “Don’t you look at me right now,” because we know we will both burst out laughing if we do make eye contact with the spouse sitting next to us. This guy is pretty hilarious. And he’s fun.
30. He forgives easily. I wish I shared this trait, but I definitely don’t. I will hold a grudge for years. Eddie is the opposite. As far as he is concerned, once you apologize, it is over and there is no need to ever bring it up again. If you asked him what the last thing he got angry at me about was, I doubt he could tell you. In our relationship, I have often been the one to make the biggest mistakes. With feelings, with money, with whatever. He has an amazing capacity to love people through their mistakes and just move forward.
For which I am thankful, because I plan to be moving forward with this guy for the rest of my life.
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Photo Credit: @andresr via Deposit Photo