Yesterday, my beloved Hubbibi turned 35. (He doesn’t look it, though. They only recently stopped carding him at the liquor store, so I think I can safely say he’s 35 years young. Right, honey?)
That means we’ve been together for 10 whole years.
On his 25th birthday, we were a very new couple, living in separate cities, counting the hours between visits. We had shifted from friendship to coupledom with nary a glitch, and we both knew we were in it for the long haul.
On his 15th birthday, by contrast, we were part of the same group of high school friends, overlapping in enhanced math and English classes, playing Speed (cards, not drugs) at lunch period, each dating other people, NEVER EVEN REMOTELY DREAMING we would someday get married and make babies together.
I’m pretty sure we would both say the romance actually started with an old-fashioned written correspondence, while I was living in France (just a spring chicken at age 22). We started writing to each other on a whim, but I came to look forward to his letters so fervently that seeing one in my mailbox made my heart somersault.
He wrote to me about everything, from job-hunting to the environment to friendship to commercialism to social justice to family to religion to comic books. He wrote openly, charmingly, soulfully. (Sometimes, he even calligraphed my name and address on the envelope.) When I look back on that, knowing as I do now how big a perfectionist he is about his own writing, I’m amazed he ever sent those letters – but thank goodness he did.
In the months between my return to Canada and our official getting together, I remember reading one of those email forwards full of life advice, in which one of the tips was “Marry someone you have good conversations with.” My mind immediately lit on Sean. I consider that to be a stellar piece of advice, by the way.
So, besides a good conversationalist, what kind of a guy is this honourable birthday boy?
In high school, I knew he was unusual – he didn’t seem to care what people thought of him, which was mysterious and amazing to me (I was the homeschooling transplant, trying hard to figure out what “normal” was and be that, or at least be perceived as that). Also, he was smart – smart enough that he, like several of my male high school friends, coasted through a lot of courses with minimal work. Also, he was hilarious. He could crack up a whole cafeteria table with his antics.
Through his letters, I learned a lot more: that he’s a guy who cares about people and the natural world, that he’s not afraid of controversy, that music touches his soul, that we are concerned about a lot of the same things, and that he notices everything – the sublime, the mundane, and the tragic.
Now that we’ve been together for ten years, I am lucky to know he’s everything I was hoping for in a life partner. (I have the urge to make a bullet list here, but that’s not romantic. For you, honey, it’s a paragraph.) He’s still funny, and we laugh at all the same things. He’s still smart, and we have great conversations. He is the snuggliest husband you could ever ask for, with outstanding hugging abilities (etc. 🙂 ). He is scrupulous in his housework – when he vacuums, no dust bunny is left unturned. His eyes are a different colour every day. He’s great at organization, rearranging, problem-solving, and he can be a pretty handy fix-it guy. His hands are always warm. He is laid-back, even-tempered (except when dealing with recalcitrant inanimate objects), and doesn’t sweat the small stuff (unless you count writing implements and pocket knives). Best of all, he is a reasonable guy. We don’t fight: we disagree, we argue, we get into it, but we don’t yell or say things we regret.
Don’t get me wrong, he has his flaws. I’m sure I could write a whole blog post about those too, but like most of us, he is his own worst critic. The good part is, he’s an optimist. That means that he is always ready to try to be a better man. It’s one of the things I love most about him: in his his frequent resolutions for self-improvement, no matter what the outcome, he never says, “What’s the use?”
Combine this optimism with canny critical thinking and incessant reading of non-fiction, and you get a mind that almost never closes. He is never finished working on his life philosophy – and I’ve learned that that’s a great thing.
He is also a wonderful dad, like I knew he would be. He’s affectionate and full of beans, but also firm, and good with teaching moments. He has talents for kid-wrestling and chin-tickling and making tents and forts and weird faces and funny sounds. He builds awesome block towers and beautiful Lego vehicles. He is the kind of dad who gets up at 7 even on days he doesn’t work until 10 or later, to help me get E ready for the babysitter.
I recently told someone who asked me (in a particular context) about my relationship with my husband.
It’s such an easy question to answer: we’re great. We’re a team.
In this instance, I said, “He’s a keeper. If I didn’t know that before Sebastian, I do now.” Of course, I did know that he was a keeper before, and I never doubted that we would be okay, even at the moment tragedy struck. But it is immensely reassuring to realize for absolute certain that your husband remains awesome even when things get really bad.
On his 35th birthday, my Hubbibi had his first day of training for an entirely new career. His time at the bookstore is over, and he’s about to be learning piles of new facts and skills. We are both incredibly excited for the possibilities.
Honey, I love you jillions. As I’ve told you many times before, I’m so, so glad you’re my life’s mate, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. I can’t wait to see what your brain does with all the new information it’s about to get. Now be careful with all those crazy machines.