I didn't buy my husband a birthday gift. Well, technically, I did buy something for him but it was from the kids and not me. He needs clothes and we're going Denver next week to do some shopping and he asked me to wait and let him pick some things out then. He knows me well though and knows that not having a gift for him on his birthday would be really hard for me so he specifically asked me to not spend money on "something he doesn't want or need". Working within the "don't spend money" parameter, I decided to make a list of forty-five reasons why I love him.
1. Every time I get in my van after he's driven it, my radio station is set to an AM easy-listening station. Every single time. He jokes that he's analog in a digital world. It's true. I usually roll my eyes when that AM station comes on but it never fails to make me smile.
2. He helps me with laundry when I fall behind. And that happens often.
3. He works very hard to provide generously for our family. Lately he's been doing a ton of freelance work in addition to his full-time job so we can send our kids to camps and such this summer and take a really nice beach vacation! He's tired a lot of the time but he never complains.
4. He makes me laugh. Even when I don't necessarily want to. And his laugh is the BEST!
5. He keeps gas in my van. I can probably count on one hand how many times I've had to fill it up myself in the last twelve months. I love that he takes care of me in that way.
6. He still holds my hand. And opens doors for me. Sooooo chivalrous.
7. He calls and texts me throughout the day...just because.
8. He prays for me. All the time, but especially when I'm having a hard day or when I'm facing tough stuff.
9. He watches stuff I like on TV with me. And doesn't get mad when I speak of my infatuation with hunky actors. :)
10. He likes to hike with me. We don't get to go together as often as I'd like but when we do it's always nice.
11. He likes to surprise me and our children with fun things!
12. Every single time he helps me put clean sheets on our bed, he races me to get the pillowcases on our individual pillows. Every. Single. Time. We'be been doing that since our early married days. Sometimes I let him win. Sometimes.
13. He unloads the dishwasher for me every single morning. I gave him the day off today since it's his birthday and all.
14. He is an amazing dad. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. He's incredibly patient and always engaged with our kids. When he gets home from work he is able to disengage from "work" and focus on them. I'm pretty sure if you asked Will, Sarah, and Abbey who their favorite parent is they'd all say, "DAD!" And I'm okay with that because watching him love them well brings me unspeakable joy.
15. He is generous beyond belief--with his money, his time, his praise, and his affection.
16. He rarely raises his voice to me or our children. I betcha I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen that happen in almost twenty-two years of marriage. Believe me, I know what a blessing that is.
17. He tells me I'm beautiful. Even when I feel anything BUT.
18. He listens to me try to work through personal stuff over and over and over with patience and grace.
19. He helps our kids with their homework. They prefer his help over mine because he's smarter and more patient. :)
20. He cleans the kitchen most nights after dinner. Sometimes by himself, sometimes with my help but ALWAYS cheerfully.
21. He stops by the store for me on his way home from work when I've forgotten something. I know he's just ready to come home and he doesn't really want to, but he does it anyway.
22. He hardly EVER says anything unkind about anyone and always finds the best in others. I could take a few lessons from him.
23. Not only does he listen to that AM easy-listening station in the car, but he turns our television to the easy-listening music channel every night before dinner so we can have some easy listening background music. A couple of weeks ago, we were setting the table and Will automatically went and set the television to that station. I don't know if John has ever been prouder.
24. He takes our kids to the mall when they need something. He knows I don't love the mall and he knows we have teenagers who want to be hip and stylish and shop at cool stores so he takes them. He usually takes them one at a time for a little bit of "dad indulgence". I think it's very very sweet.
25. He calls his parents at least once a week to check in. He loves and honors them. It's not uncommon to see his eyes get a little leaky when they leave our home after a visit.
26. He's not afraid of his tears. You know when something stirs him.
27. He gets as excited about Christmas as our children do. Like a "kid-in-a-candy-store-excited". He LOVES Christmas.
28. More often than not, he offers to pick our kids up from their evening activities. The older our kids get the later our evenings have become and he knows I just want to get in my pjs and "be finished for the night" so he turns into the evening carpool king. It is a huge gift to me!
29. He pays attention. To things I say, to things I do, to appearance, and by doing so makes me feel valued and important.
30. He responds with grace instead of anger. I accidentally washed and DRIED one of his favorite (and expensive) shirts and it shrunk enough that he can't wear it any longer. That's a nice way of saying I ruined it. He just shrugged it off an accident and forgave me for making a mistake. Flash back to a couple of summers ago when he accidentally dried one of my tops and it shrunk to a too-small size. My response was quite the opposite and I'm pretty sure I reminded him of his mistake long enough for him to buy me replacement. (Hangs head in shame).
31. He is admired and respected by so many people.
32. He can string words together beautifully. God has gifted him with the ability to write and his writing has already touched so many lives. I pray that God continues to bless him and open doors for him. It is a gift to me to see him get to do something he loves.
33. He loves to linger around the dinner table with our family each evening. Talking. Laughing. Playing games. Whatever. I can just sense his peace and contentment when we are all together.
34. He locks up the house every night before bed. That brings me such a sense of security. Just knowing he's "got it under control" is one way he offers me his strength.
35. He always always offers wise advice. He is able to discern what is really going on when I come to him with questions or problems and he steers me in the right direction. Not just in some logical direction but in the direction of wisdom and truth, with a huge measure of grace.
36. He is quick to forgive and even apologize when he's wrong. He doesn't like it when things between us get wonky and he strives to rectify things quickly. Again, I could take a few lessons from him.
37. He plans dates for us and makes time together as a couple a priority.
38. He is always calm and rational. And even more so when I'm NOT.
39. He calls me "kiddo" all the time. I love that so much. It reminds me of Big and Carrie from SATC.
40. He always drives on long road trips. I only get nervous when he starts getting drowsy. :)
41. He gently tells me when to "back off" as a mom. I tend to hover, especially with our 15-year-old son. He was fifteen once and knows when I'm crossing a line I'll come to regret later. I don't always appreciate his frankness but because he's gentle about it I've come to respect it. I'm trying at least.
42. He keeps himself physically fit. He runs and lifts weights several times a week. He'll tell you it's to keep stress at bay but I'm grateful that he takes care of himself in that way.
43. He recognizes beauty and responds to it. I'm not necessarily talking about physical beauty here. He sees beauty in nature, in words, in song, and in simple, mundane things.
44. He is incredibly humble and puts others before himself day in and day out.
45. He is a beautiful human being--inside and out. He grows more and more handsome to me with each passing year. I love him simply because of who he is and am honored to journey through life as his wife and friend.
I love you, John. So very much. Thank you for choosing me. Happy Birthday.