Through all the adversity, physical moves and everything else we’ve endured and endure — your love, friendship and example has me looking back with adoration at every moment of every day. Of course at times it makes me really need a smoke haha, but still…
Thank you, Nichole, for all of it.
And as you’ve heard many times before, thank you for being born! The world is an infinitely better place with you in it, and I hope we’re able to celebrate accordingly today…
…and true to family tradition, for at least the next week if not month as well!
It’s not just my world that’s better with you in it. You make the whole world better. From sharing your many gifts of talent with those who want it, and your many gifts of brilliance with those who need it…while still finding time to get Edna certified as a therapy dog in every new state we land, dressing her up and taking her to visit patients and staff at hospitals to brighten their days — you’re just remarkable, and the impact of your love is palpable among all those fortunate enough to receive it.
But back to me…
…your love in my life has changed me in great ways. I was whole ‘enough’ before we met, but you’ve created opportunities for and manifestations of new happiness that I never dreamed possible.
When we first met I was content to live as long as I could while fending for myself, loving my family, fighting to promote liberty whenever possible and cultivating my faith…but ultimately ‘enjoying the ride’ no matter the cost.
Now — sharing it with you, having just celebrated a wedding anniversary and today celebrating your birthday — my life with you is a ride I want to enjoy in a much more lasting way.
Of course, as you’ll recall, I told you when we first met that I am a smoker — and unapologetically so. I did not want to stem my smoking let alone quit, nor could I be with someone who expected me to. I was brutally staunch on that position, but afforded a very lean caveat: “I mean…at some point I’m sure something will happen in my life someday where I’ll probably start smoking less and maybe eventually quit.” True to your stride in every aspect of life — often to my however short-lived frustration — that very lean caveat was of course all you heard. But you didn’t beat up on me, or press me. You’ve said lovingly on only a few occasions, “I just want you here for a long time with me and I know smoking will take you sooner than you’re supposed to go.”
For your birthday we certainly have some fun plans lined up, and tonight we’ll enjoy the best celebration we can given tomorrow’s responsibilities. But among the things I want to share with you today is a gift you’ve been patiently waiting for me to give myself…
Today I quit smoking.
I talk often about me, you and us. I can’t say I did this just for me because without you in my life, I’d gladly continue nurturing my introversion and penchant for pleasure with frequent stops in Marlboro country. But I can’t say I did it for you because that’s just not a foundation for success among endeavors like this, and it’s also just not true. This is something I did for us…for me, you, Edna, Agnes and our family to be.
Thanks for letting me horn in on one of your gifts…and for your birthday next year I plan to get myself a new video game console. Ha!
Now you’ll forgive me but I’m a little cranky and a little hungry, so let’s play a game of chess and this time try to let me keep my Queen for more than 4 moves.
I will always love you, I will always come for you, and I will never let you go.
Yours, for as long as I possibly can be in this life…
And then eternity…