For 23 years now, I have been blessed to be connected to a truly incredible human being. When one says "soulmate," most people, having been jaded by society and perhaps experience of lost romances, roll their eyes in their head and heave a heavy "oh brother" type sigh. If you must, do that now and get it over with. Because if you think it's been sappy so far, I haven't even started so it will be a long ride for you.
Today marks the natal anniversary of my best friend; Charlie. This will be the 24th birthday of his that we will celebrate together. I missed the first 22. Celebrating birthdays is one thing, but celebrating life together is quite another. We've had some pretty outstanding birthdays together. Remember the surprise 25th and me nearly drowning trying to set up that damn aquarium in our first apartment? Or how about the time your birthday was on Thanksgiving and I was determined to cook dinner for the entire family (yours AND mine) even though Caris was only 2 weeks old and I was in horrible pain. Then my parents were in a car accident on the way over with 2 year old Averie in the car. I dropped the turkey on the floor and that's when my mom discovered that I had forgotten to take the little bag with the neck and giblets and stuff out of the inside of the bird before I cooked it. Everyone laughed while I cried and you hugged me and told me it was ok. The best part of the meal was that everyone was ok, and that your birthday cake didn't cave in. Since Caris was nursing, she was really the only one that got fed on your Thanksgiving birthday. The rest of us got cake. Back then I didn't know you really didn't like cake much and would have preferred a peach pie. You never said a thing. For years and years, you just always rolled with the flow. That's how you are.
So here we are, 23 years later, and you're still rolling with the flow. Only the flow doesn't just consist of you and me. It includes Ave, Caris, and the Grommet and adds that much more spice to the mix that is our lives. I remember once saying that you were my sun and my moon, the stars that bring brilliance to my life. I remember days where we didn't have money for milk and so birthdays were merely a cupcake and a single candle and we cuddled on the couch and watched tv at home. I know the sacrifices that you made so that the birthdays that surrounded yours (Averie's, Bryson's, and Caris') were all terrific at the expense of your own and it didn't make a bit of difference to you. You have never asked for anything special, other than the love of your family, and you would have never cared if the day went by without so much as a peep about it. That's how you are.
This birthday will probably be one of those mini peach pie and a single candle birthdays. You'd have a fit if I spent anything or made a fuss. Mostly because I've been unemployed now for 6 months. But you've never made me feel guilty about it. You've never so much as sneezed at the fact. You've loved me, yet again, through another difficult time and told me to take whatever time I've needed to get the wind back under my wings. The fact is, the wind that held me up never really left. It's been blowing strong for 23 years.
Charlie, you are the most wonderful man on the face of this earth. I don't know by what miracle I was blessed to know you or to have you become my friend, husband, partner. I only know that I am indeed blessed. Whatever hand holds the eternities in place, I thank them. For bringing you to me and having us share this breathing space together. I love you with all my heart.
Happy Birthday Chooch.