How do 143 (I Love You), Let Me Count 26 Ways for Your (not) 26th Birthday

  1. the way you can tell you’ve spent so much of your life smiling and laughing instead of frowning and scowling (because you have lines along the outside of your eyes instead of along the inside, by the bridge of your nose)
  2. the way you and E. discuss comic book-based movies, with such immense and dedicated passion
  3. the way you entered the life of my older two kids when we first started courting–you were so quiet about it; never demanding their loyalties, just slowly, over time, earning their respect and love by simply being the good, loving man you are
  4. the way you patiently wait as I shut down and go inside, all of my wounds that pre-date you making me so completely scared to trust this most wonderful love that has been placed into my hands
  5. that you and I can spend our fifth anniversary walking around Fleet Farms, wanting to buy survivalist gear but laughing together at how we’d both be so very incapable of using the gear if we ever needed to rely on it (not talking guns here folks think life straws and seed packages and turn-handle radios)
  6. the way you just smile (usually) when I drag home another cast off from the Goodwill or consignment store
  7. the way you occasionally raise your one eyebrow at me when I drag home another cast off from the Goodwill or a garage sale, because “they didn’t know what this harvest gold classroom chair from the 70s is really worth and I got it for $13.00!!”
  8. the way we can laugh together about things like you not remembering where we put our wind-up radio and me telling you that I remember telling you where I put it (and so you should know) but I don’t remember the location that I told you
  9. the way you say my birth month, JOO-ly
  10. because you watched me dance to Cortez the Killer and you recognized my soul out there on the dance floor
  11. the way you didn’t end the dialogue that began with my mixed tape (well, okay, a CD–but mixed tape sounds better)–and the dialogue continues to this day
  12. the way you color pictures (or do puzzles, or play Break the Ice) with our son each morning so that I can sit around with my tea and stare at the fire because you know I need a slow, gentle entry into the new day
  13. the love you have for your parents–when I saw how kind and respectful you were to your mother, I knew that I wanted to keep you
  14. the way we give each other permission to be bums on the weekends (I mean, we might have a cleaner house with a more pristine lawn if we weren’t so enabling of each other’s laziness–but I think it works better this way)
  15. how you bought me that plum-colored Carhartt coat on our anniversary date–most people do not realize that the 5th anniversary is the Carhartt anniversary (wood schmould)
  16. the way you can still show interest as you listen to me discuss the latest, greatest dietary means I’ve read about for treating all of my self-diagnosed conditions
  17. the way you pray for my complete recovery from all of my self-diagnosed conditions
  18. the way you defended my coat in that bar so long ago–I knew then that I wanted to keep you
  19. the way you spend so much of your weekends bringing our son to museums, libraries, and parks because you love it, because he loves it, and because you want to give me space to work on my book
  20. when you told me this morning that you were like your dad because his kids were his hobby and now your kids are all the hobby you need
  21. the way you eat/try my braised brussel sprouts, mashed cauliflower, steamed broccoli, and roasted cabbage even though you don’t like vegetables so much
  22. the way you always thank me when I buy you ice tea at the store (and I’m not even making it from scratch!)
  23. the way you gift me vintage station wagons on Pinterest
  24. the way you process hard news about our son’s health issues quickly and thoroughly and then bounce back into optimism the very next day
  25. while I am I am freaking out and running worst case scenarios at lightening speed, you calm, center and ground me
  26. the way you sign even the most mundane, household business text (i.e., new hot water heater on order) with 143, in this way always reminding me that you love me

Happy Birthday My Dearest Rhurac

Love Your Hysedai

143

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