Today is my beloved husband Greg’s birthday. It is a BIG birthday. I promised him I would not publicly say how old he is turning. But it rhymes with nifty.
I met Desperate Hubby a little over thirteen years ago. A year into my life as a re-minted Idaho resident, I was sitting on my back porch on a sweltering August afternoon drinking a nice cold glass of Robert Mondavi Special Release Fume Blanc (it is easy to remember the details of the big moments in life, don’t you think?).
My good friends Tami and Larry arrived for a barbecue……with a handsome stranger in tow. Greg walked up on the back porch, and before he introduced himself to me (or even really acknowledged my presence) he grabbed the jowls of one of the scruffy dogs adorning my gray Trex deck and lowered his head. Making a silly little smooching sound he gently shook the dogs face from to side to side and said “Now what kind of pooch are you exactly?”
That was it for me. As I am fond of saying, he walked up on the porch that afternoon and basically never left. From the very beginning there was something different about our relationship. Greg was funny and smart, and though it sounds kind of boring (which he definitely isn’t) I knew he was reliable. After thirty-five years of life on my own I had finally found a partner that I knew would be there for the rest of my days.
The years haven’t always been easy. We have weathered many challenges together: dramatic financial reversals and grievous injuries; death of family members and the heartbreak of miscarriage. Through it all we have remained a team, supporting each other when we need it most, and not hesitating to give each other a good swift kick when that was what was required.
Although it sounds so cliché, our relationship is based on a mutual respect for each other as individuals. Marrying in my latter thirties was a major adjustment for me, but in a good way. For the first time in my adult life I had someone on my side who cheered me on in my own endeavors, even if they held little interest for him.
DH has nurtured and supported my horse habit all these years. Though he would rather have a root canal than actually sit through a horse show, he listens patiently while I jabber about lead changes, sliding stops, turn-arounds and whether my horse goes better in a twisted wire, mini-correction or the big S-shanked Balding bit I used to use on Daz (another horse that he also didn’t care much about).
If your eyes are glazing over after reading that last sentence then you get the drift of what DH puts up with, and convincingly seems to actually pay attention to.
Desperate Hubby is somewhat of a renaissance man. He’s an awesome cook, and never have I returned from an out-of-town trip or even a day in the foothills that I didn’t find a thoughtfully planned dinner waiting for me. His dinner parties are coveted for his phenomenal ability to flawlessly cook any kind of steak. DH has played in a rock and roll band for over twenty years, and still practices his guitar with the dedication of a brand new student.
Shortly after we met, Greg decided to pursue his long-time dream of attaining his private pilot’s license. The focus and determination he applied to that endeavor was nothing short of amazing, and he has flown as much as he possibly can through the ensuing years. I wish I could have gotten him a brand new Cessna 182 to celebrate this milestone birthday. Maybe next year.
When Greg and I met, I instantly became part-time mom to three wonderful girls, Hali, Hana and Sami. I love those girls beyond measure, and it has been a real honor to play a small role in their lives and watch them become the truly amazing young adults they are now.
After six years of marriage, DH and I were blessed to welcome Annabelle into our family, and 18 months later our little tribe was made complete by Zach (more commonly known on this blog as Batman). Raising children together is a challenge and a joy that can really test the strength of a couple’s commitment, and though we were a strong team before having the kids, I really believe that the nuances of balancing child-rearing and a new business and horses and band and all the other messy bits of life has made us even stronger.
Our relationship is also strengthened by the element of surprise. Not the kind where you meet him at the door at lunchtime wrapped only in Saran Wrap (sorry for the visual, everybody. And no I’ve never done that.) But the kind of surprise where you are trying to get the kids to bed and they don’t want to go. It is nearly an hour past their bedtime and kindergarten looms the next morning. Both kids are crying but you finally get them in their jammies and headed toward the new bunk beds, when suddenly Batman accidentally pulls the leg off of his deeply revered new latexy-squishy lifelike-looking toy frog. The body of the frog starts leaking tiny black beads everywhere and Batman is completely FREAKING OUT. You try to get him to put it in a baggy and tell him we’ll fix it in the morning. He is having none of it. Annabelle starts crying harder, wailing that she needs to get to sleep right now and can’t you make Zach be quiet.
You try desperately to keep your cool and figure out how to calm Batman down. Suddenly you hear the unmistakable sound of DH’s recliner footstool slamming down. You know that DH has had a really long day too, and he is ready for some peace and quiet, but the last thing you need is for him to come in and try to force Batman to go to bed, which you know will only add to the chaos. You sigh and try to fight back your own tears.
This is where the element of surprise comes in. Instead of charging into the room and trying to forcefully impose order and quiet (which would be expected, completely understandable and ultimately effective) DH walks quietly through the door and kneels down by the red-faced hiccupping Batman. He takes the tiny hand that is holding the broken frog and says “What happened buddy? You broke your frog? That’s OK. Bring him out here and we’ll find some glue and fix his leg. Quiet down now so sissy can go to sleep, okay bud?” Batman instantly stops crying and follows daddy out the door, where daddy spends the next forty-five minutes painstakingly gluing the leg back on the stupid frog instead of playing his guitar in the garage as he had planned.
That is the kind of surprise that makes a marriage stronger.
Happy birthday hon. I’m glad you’re in my camp.