Monday, December 05, 2005

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Okay, so my husband is modest, humble, and much less full of himself and obnoxious than I could ever dream of being. After a few days without reading the blog, he checked in yesterday. So, he is thoroughly embarassed that I ramble on about him the way that I do, and has threatened to sneak in and change my blogger password to prevent future gushing if I don't cut it out now. I don't really know what has me feeling so lovey-dovey and schoolgirl lately, but it wasn't working yesterday at lunch. I briefly considered putting the man into a headlock and being a brute, before realizing he would win any physical match. But anyway, yesterday's blubber has been placed behind a cut, out of respect for the man I love. Warning: If you click on "more..." you will hear about how much I adore my man. You have been forewarned.

I have never, in my life, known someone who is as strong and as gentle, as tough and as kind, as courageous and as revealing, as my husband. Next week, we will have been married for 6 years, and I could still gush over him for hours (in case you haven't noticed). And no, it certainly isn't because I'm a delicate little flower of the South who thinks she needs a man to be complete. I'm not. While I'm a bit disappointed that the feminist movement seems to have been hijacked by radical liberals, I still call myself a feminist. I don't need my man in order to feel like a complete human. But having him around sure does make life better. He's just incredible.

I think of some of the stuff he went through growing up, and it amazes me that the exact same experiences that can lead someone turn out screwed up (distant, violent, a drunk, an abuser, a manipulator, a philanderer) can lead other people into becoming absolute people of integrity and true honor. Some people acquiesce; others see what is going on around them and vow that they will never be a part of that once they're calling the shots. What makes that difference? How can some people grow into adults who use excuses-- I grew up the son of a wife-beating alcoholic so it's okay for me to be screwed up forever and repeat the cycle? As if it's just expected? Personal responsibility, people... It's a beautiful thing.

I was reading over at 4haks and something caught my attention: From Wild at Heart by John Eldredge: "The violence we see is a result of a wound that each man receives earlier in his life." As a mother, and a generally heart-on-my-sleeve kind of person, this breaks my heart. To imagine any child being hurt, abused, neglected, made to feel less-than, or not having a positive father (or mother) figure in his life just makes my heart drop. But the thing is, childhood is no easier on women. We just cope differently. Women are taught to be manipulative and needy to deal with the pain. They grow up to be promiscuous, hate themselves, and give up dreams. They quit eating, or cut themselves, or sit around thinking about ending it all. Men are taught to keep it all inside until they damn near explode, and when they do, it isn't pretty. I've seen it, not from my husband, but throughout my life in other situations. And depending on who is there to witness the explosion, it might inflict another wound on another person, maybe a child.

But what we do with that wound, how we try to recover from the confusing swirl of memories and pain-- it sometimes seems to be pretty arbitrary. Some grow up and end up strong, advocates, achievers, or perfect spouses to someone who really needs a little extra patience and nurturing. Others end up in crack houses, strip clubs, or on the streets, with drug problems and no self-esteem. What makes the difference?

As a mother, I'd like to know. I'd like to provide all the support and nurturing for my children that I can to help my boys grow into healthy, strong, compassionate men, and my daughter grow into someone who knows her worth. But as a wife, I'm not too concerned about what makes the difference. I'm just thankful that I finally ended up with someone who has turned adversity into strength at every opportunity in his life, and who has used everything he has been through as a stepping stone to greater love and understanding. My husband is not my world; he is simply its' color.

I love you, sweetheart! Happy Birthday!

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