My beloved celebrates his 50th trip around the sun today.
We, as humans, tend to put special emphasis on certain numbers over others. The first birthday is a big one, and so are 5 and 10, and we in our culture like 16 and 18 and 21, but no one makes much of a fuss over 13, or 22, or 46. The half-century mark seems like it should be a big deal – and I suppose it is just as a matter of principle because, let’s face it, not everyone makes it that far – but why should 50 be any more important than 49? Or 51?
Regardless, I make a point of celebrating ALL my loved ones’ birthdays, and this one is certainly no exception.
My husband is, without question, my best and truest friend. He is a constant source of encouragement, support, critique, and challenge for me and our two daughters. He loves with a kind of matter-of-factness that continually surprises me; I still recall, with stunning clarity, the day I told him that I never expected to have this life that we share. “Funny,” he said, “I always did.”
One of the things I treasure about my relationship with Mr. Chili is how much we can communicate without explanation – or, sometimes, even words. We’ve been together so long – and so well – that we have an entire shared culture and our own private vocabulary. We catch each other’s references, we understand each other’s jokes, we’re watchful for each other’s triggers, and we effortlessly pick up where we know the other will leave off. The kind of trust that requires, and the kind of experiences that lead to it, are priceless.
My husband is the definition of a good man. He gets what it means to be decent and strong and compassionate, and I think that he serves as an example to other men of what a good husband and father looks like. I’ve said before that I worry that he’s setting the bar too high for my daughters – that they’ll never be able to find a guy as good as their dad – and every day he does something, just as a matter of course, that makes me stand by that assertion.
It is no surprise to anyone who reads here that I am desperately, deeply, and deliriously in love with my husband. We fit, we work, and I am grateful, every day, for this man who makes me laugh, makes me think, and makes me feel loved. My wish is that I do the same for him, and that he understands just how much the women in his life love him.
Happy birthday, Mr. Chili. I love you.
*edited to include: Mr. Chili is currently on his way to Fenway with Auntie Chili. He scored Monster seats for the game (his second in a week; he took his brother to the Green Monster on Monday). Seeing a Sox game from the Monstah was on both of their bucket lists, and I can only imagine how silly-stupid happy they both are right now!**