Here's mine. I'm sharing it because I came across it this morning while looking for something else on my computer. I had written it hurriedly because I had true-to-form put it off, but I wouldn't change any of the sentiment. I'm posting it because I want our grandchildren to someday know how I felt. And because remembering is nice. Ld, you and I will annoy, frustrate, and bug each other soon enough (Ha!), keeping the big picture in mind has served us both well through the years.
As I read through this letter, there's so much I left out. Another time, another birthday, then.
You 'da man, ld.
The years have flown, eh? Our bodies are not what they used to be, we sag and bag, can’t hear and forget things. It takes a kind of courage to deal with a body that betrays you. The challenges of aging, they are really there. But there are blessings, too. We’re still together and I count you and our marriage as my life’s greatest blessing.
We really didn’t know each other at all when we married, so it’s been a huge relief to have our leap of faith confirmed. We are better together, you and I.
The gift of a long life, we can count our blessings. And, true, 60 isn’t really old age but for all those billions of people in the world’s history who died before hitting 60 it puts it into perspective. Everyday is a gift. We are only as old as God allows us to be. And I am thankful for everyday spent with you.
I appreciate the family we have created together. Many of those years involved struggle and sacrifice, mostly borne by you. You have done an admirable job taking care of us all and kept this family going. You have fed, clothed and educated our children. That is no small thing, providing for a family. I can’t thank you enough.
There is also a streak of loyalty that runs through your character that is hard to miss. You were loyal to your Dad and Mable and helped them even when they were not so kind to you, whatever their reasons. That speaks volumes. It’s easy to love when it is returned but says a lot about a person when they can love without it being reciprocated or appreciated.
You have a strong sense of duty too. In work and in church you have always been found doing yours.
It’s no secret either that you are a handy-man. A good fixer of all things broken. A chair, the car. A faucet, a door, or a computer. I have appreciated this can do attitude, it’s really been a blessing for our family through the years. And an even added bonus: the years have mellowed and refined your fix-it problem solving skills, you are less likely to get so stressed. You are much calmer when something breaks or face a challenge or problem.
I love you for this and it confirms to me what I have always known: that you are a grower, capable of changing and adapting. I’ve seen you do this many times through the years. This trait, more than any others you possess makes me respect you the most. It helps me to see change is possible for me, too.
They say marriage involves the willingness and ability to be influenced for good by each other. You have wielded a huge influence for good on me. Thank you.
Ld: the memories, the struggles, the growth. The flowers given, the cards written, the ‘I love you’ spoken before you leave for work. The ‘just because’ gifts, the 'I'm sorry's', the putting up with all my cardboard. I love you for loving me, forgiving me, watching over me, taking care of me. You’ve been a good husband to a terribly flawed wife.
You’re still my guy, after all these years. I don’t say it often enough, but I love you more than air.
I really do.
Happy birthday. Here’s to many more. Clink.