As is tradition in our house. 28 reasons. On your 28th birthday. Happy birthday, Love.
(Here is just a glimpse into the 28 reasons for this birthday boy.)
1. I love you because you made me a momma. A little over two years ago, you stood by my side as we welcomed sweet Oliver into our world. You saw us through that brutal first week with him and have seen us through every week since. Oliver is blessed to have you as his daddy.
2. I love you because you made me a momma again. And this summer, you held my hands and my heart and my gaze as I did the most painful and precious thing in my life thus far, delivering Milo into this world without pain medication. You were my rock and my comfort, gentle and strong, and you walked with me through that storm. Milo is blessed to have you as his daddy.
3. I love you because you are fighting for us. The culture of Silicon Valley is no joke, and some days it seems like there is pressure coming on every side to give more and sacrifice more to achieve more. But I know you are fighting to hold your ground. To protect our family. To protect our marriage. To have a solid work ethic and a solid family. The weight of that balancing act does not go unnoticed, babe. Thank you for fighting for us.
4. I love you because you change diapers. Enough said.
5. I love you because you sit by the potty and read books to potty trainers. Maybe one of my favorite images of you as a daddy, is you sitting on the red time out chair beside the potty, reading book after book to Oliver, and coaching him through the strenuous work of a big poo. In that moment, you were everyone's super hero.
6. I love you because you apologize first and fast. Ok, babe. I'm still working on this and have so much more room to grow. I'm learning from you. You seem to always be the first to apologize, the first to own up to your part, and the first to move on after conflict. I've always admired that about you. Thank you for being patient with me. You are the teacher and I am the student when it comes to the art of humility.
7. I love you because you teach our boys. You take time to explain things to them. Things I would never even think twice about. I've seen you talk in depth with Oliver about spider webs and rocket ships and coffee beans. And he listens. He eats up information, just like you. My boys love facts. And I love that about all of you.
8. I love you because you are good at playing. You wrestle. You hide. You snuggle. You build forts and towers. You race cars. You play soccer. You sit in play houses and you slide down slides. You dig holes in the sand and you play chase with the waves. Playing takes energy, and you deliver. And while some men love projects (and you do get into project mode from time to time-- not a bad thing), I love that you love to play more.
10. I love you because you do the research. This is huge. I love that you love to research things and find out what is the very best when it comes to new purchases for our family. I love that I do not do the research, and that you can summarize all the facts for me.
11. I love you because you do the tangles. Enough said.
12. I love you because you are there with a cool rag and you empty the bucket. Oh bless. Pregnancy is rough on your wife, and you never stopped with the cool rags, or the chicken noodle soup, or the emptying of buckets. Every. Single. Night. You love me so thoroughly, and especially during pregnancy, you take such tender care of me. When all dignity is lost, you look me in the eyes and tell me I'm lovely.
16. I love you because you see that I do hard work. You don't take it for granted that you have clean clothes in your top drawer, or food in the fridge, or babies that have been loved, and fed and disciplined and diapered all day. Thanks for knowing that it is work to raise these boys, and for having grace for me when there are no clean clothes in your top drawer, and the fridge is bare, and the house feels like chaos. These are precious and exhausting days.
17. I love you because you slow us down... in such a good way. I forget to enjoy the journey and am prone to keep us moving rather than taking the time to gather leaves or climb on rocks or draw in the dirt. I love that you are sensitive to Oliver's interests and that you remind me that we don't always live on a schedule.
22. I love you because you are just my type. God knew exactly the man that I would need, and exactly the daddy our boys would need. You were my type five years ago, when we said "I do" and the man you have grown into today is just my type, as well.
24. I love you because you take calculated risks. So you are not impulsive. But you aren't paralyzed in the face of risk. I'm thankful for the way we make decisions together. I'm thankful that we came to California, as painful as it is some days. This was such a good decision for our family. I'm proud of you for being willing to try something new, on our own, away from family. I love that fear doesn't always win in our decision making. I love that adventure doesn't always win either.
25. I love you because you don't fluster easy... on crazy evenings, when Milo is fussy and Oliver has a potty accident, and dinner is eaten in between nursing and timeouts, you roll with it. You don't get irritable, or angry, or flustered. You eat dinner in fits and starts, and tell me it is delicious, even when its cold by the time you get to it.
28. I love you because you switch places with me in the middle of the night. When I am exhausted and frustrated and Milo is fussing or chatty or grunty. You take over. You sacrifice so many things for me-- but when you sacrifice your sleep, oh babe, that means the world to your tired wife. You love me well.