Remember when we were just you-knows, just barely falling in love–more than dating, but not yet engaged– and we would email back and forth from California to Salem? I would sit at my parents’ computer desk all that excruciating summer, blushing deeply if they came into the room. I hung on every word you wrote. You were the richest, most fascinating person I’d ever met. I couldn’t get to know you deeply enough, quickly enough, completely enough.
I feel a little bit like that right now sitting here all by myself. I’m at a picnic table by a creek, and it is so warm, and so green. Something about it reminds me of being 22 and falling in love with you for the very first time.
I still love you like that, you know. I still love you like you are the dearest person, the most interesting individual, the most handsome man, the truest friend, the most enjoyable companion. I would chose you faster than a heartbeat, right this very moment, to be my husband through life.
And oh, life. These weeks have been their own sort of adjustment for both of us, I know. We are learning to tread the path of family life and all its responsibilities together again. We’re re-learning to balance work and house and children and self and God…and, us. I appreciate the way you put one foot in front of the other, the way you just keep on. I can fly into a frenzy or crumple with emotions, but you just keep on. One foot, and then the next, and then I join you again and we fall in line. But I also appreciate your heart and how sometimes you have to stop putting one foot in front of the other and just rest.
I see you. I see you put your shoulder in to hold down the fort, hold up the walls, so that I can walk out the door for bits of respite. As we take careful steps toward whole restoration from the toll the last year has taken, I see how you shoulder the extra burden so I can receive doses of silence, of space. I see also how you have stepped back into our days completely, as if you walked in the door, knelt down, picked up all six of our children and myself, and resumed fathering and husbanding in the flesh as if no time had passed. I see and understand that this must have taken some emotional and mental adjustment, no matter how strongly you ached to be back in these roles. I see you, and I see how you do very well.
I see you in so many ways. I see how you work, how you excel at what you do, how you are prompt and faithful and possess integrity. I see how you face with faith our difficult decisions, and how you refuse to take the easy way out. You step carefully and prayerfully and you do hard things you don’t want to do because they are right, because they are best, because they are good. I see how you are deliberate in your choices and intentional with your time. And I believe in you. I am praying for those dreams of yours, of ours–even the crazy ones, even the baby ones, you know? I am praying for them. I am praying for you. I believe unequivocally that God has good things in store.
You have shown me over the last 12 months, Mister, (like you’ve shown me the last 12 years) that there is no one on earth as precious to you as I. You have waded many waters and weathered many storms and you have stood your solid, solid ground. I have felt loved. I have felt trusted. I have felt cherished. I have felt strong. I have received your belief in me and you have received every ounce and pound and ton of my belief in you.
So thank you for these days we’re living. Even when our interactions just skirt around the edges–even when our conversations flesh out through mere cracks in our days–I always feel like we’re at it hand in hand.
It’s like Mrs. C said all those years ago, Babe, in her adorable Spanglish transliteration: we’re one meat.
You’re my favorite.