38 years ago today, I wasn't here. I would be in less than 6 months, but not just yet. 38 years ago today, though, my lovely wife was born. Today, she is the manager of the Emergency Room in the hospital where she was born, ironically, and is a huge asset to her co-workers and patients, alike. She is total opposite to me, too, so it's true what they say...opposites really do attract. She is outgoing, always wearing a smile, and people simply adore her. I, on the other hand, wear my emotions and feelings all over my face and have been told countless times that there is zero doubt how I am doing simply by taking one glance at me. I don't have a million friends, have never really had a "best" friend (except for her, of course), and simply don't come across as a bundle of joy! She also is a great mom to our girls...normally laughing her way through times when punishment really is the proper course, but can't hold back the giggles as the girls do something funny and wrong at the same time. With her, the funny wins out. For me, I'm the one who cracks the whip and dishes out the punishment as needed while trying to conceal the laughter of mommy over in the corner laughing or rolling on the floor in laughter. This makes sense, you know... She used to laugh when she was punished as a kid and it drove her parents bananas! This laughter-trumping-over-punishment style she has drives the girls to nearly always run to her for requests before me. That's OK, though...a little good-cop, bad-cop thing can actually work pretty well while raising a family...just as long as we're all loving each other.
Many don't know it, but we got married a year out of high school. We weren't high school sweethearts but were instead best friends...off and on, that is. We "went out" a lot but never as boyfriend/girlfriend. I still paid for the meals with my wimpy McDonald's "salary"...wuz up wit that?!?! I wanted the "next step" but never got there while in school and we graduated from high school that way. Still, we considered each other our best friend. After high school, I left for boot camp in the Navy immediately and that did it...once I left, she came runnin'! By Christmas that year, we were engaged and by Thanksgiving the next year, we were married. That was almost 18 years ago. Since then, she's been a huge supporter of me and serving my country. It's a delicate balance when you have kids, a spouse, and an obligation to serve your country. Keeping that "3-legged stool" from toppling over is tricky. We're doing it, though, and it's totally a team effort. Through 10 years of active duty service and now (since 2007) as a Reservist, she puts up with late-night conference calls and weekends away as I serve. She'll really step up to the plate when I have to leave for an extended period of time. Through this all, she never, ever complains. She has always supported me 110% without even a shred of complaining. She even let me erect a 20 foot flagpole outside along with the "Navy Jack" below it which flies 24/7. (see photo at upper right on my blog) They say that military wives are truly as important as the service-member himself. This is so true. I am only 50% of the equation. I look forward proudly to the day when I retire and during that ceremony, will look to her, probably in tears, and thank her for HER service. Never a cross word, never a shred of non-support...nothing. Unwavering service to her country and asking nothing in return. That's a true patriot, a true woman, a true American, and my wife. I love her so much.
So to her, Happy Birthday, my Love!!! You are truly an inspiration to me and I'm not ashamed to say it (obviously!). I'm so glad our paths in life brought us together and can think of no one else I'd rather spend my life with. I look forward to celebrating 50+ years of marriage with you and seeing our kids though high school, college, family and more. I can not imagine it any other way. As Jerry Maguire said in 1996: "You complete me." You really do.
Happy Birthday, Love.