But then my bloggy friend Jessica Bowman declared today "My Husband is Awesome Day." And that was a great reminder for me to take a moment and tell the world (or, at least, the corner of it that reads this blog) how blessed I am to have Chris in my life and Sarah's.
There are probably hundreds of tiny things I love about my husband, everything from how he mowed my lawn for me before we were even dating to the way he looks in gym shorts and an old T-shirt and sneakers without socks. The way he finds new homes for old books and the time he lets Sarah guest-post on his blog and the 50 nicknames he's given each of our cats.
They're all worth loving, and they all make Chris who he is. But, to narrow it down...
1. He is a great father, 100% by choice.Although I've "known" Chris - mostly as a coworker - since right around the time Sarah was born, we didn't get married until she was about 5 years old. He knew, going into our relationship, that I wasn't looking for someone to casually go to the movies or dinner with now and again, as most women my age might. Anyone I dated had to be, you know, "all in" with the ready-made family.
Did I mention that on one of our first dates, I also said, "Oh, and by the way, my mom lives with us. Is that going to be a problem?" (His response, by the way, was that he grew up in a house that at one point included him and his sister, mother, grandmother and GREAT-grandmother. I get the feeling one extra lady wasn't a big deal.)
So Chris was willing to take us on - and not just to play stepdad and leave the kid part to me. He adopted Sarah less than six months after we were married, as soon as we could get the legal whatsits together. And he has owned his role as dad in every way possible, dealing with everything from an Asperger's diagnosis to the wonderful world of chauffering preteen girls who want rides all over creation to questions about whether dead cats go to Heaven.
He reads fairy tales with different voices for each character. He created an imaginary friend for him and Sarah to share, Clover the Leprechaun. He builds with Legos and helps Sarah paint characters from her favorite video games and shares his love of antiques and ephemera with her any chance he gets.
Most importantly, he's always in Sarah's corner. He stands up for her, and he celebrates her accomplishments, no matter how big or small, with all the pride of the dad of a Nobel Prize-winner.
2. He's a great friend who makes the little things fun.I tell him I want to write a post about 10 things you should know about our family members, and he comes up with "I have a vestigial tail."
We go to the grocery store and giggle the whole time about everything and nothing and all the Spam in between.
In the middle of a long drive, he starts a sentence with, "Here's a question..." and you know you're going to be going down a path to the bizarre that will lead to an hour-long conversation that makes you grin.
And he doesn't just do these things when he's with me. We share puns at the dinner table with Sarah. He is quick with a goofy joke or a pratfall when we're doing something like helping a stressed-out, not-feeling-well friend move.
If you don't know Chris well, you might think he's quiet, or reserved, or maybe even shy or unsocial. But for those of us who have the privilege to know him well, he is INCREDIBLY funny and one of the best friends you could ask for.
3. He is really, truly smart.Chris almost certainly has the widest breadth of knowledge of anyone I've ever known. He can just as easily discuss politics or Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, weather patterns or zombie films. Unlike me, he knew which of the two Beatles were still living. (Don't hit me.) He probably knows what zeitgeist means without looking it up.
Remember when I said new ideas make me cry tears of joy? Chris is my number-one source of new ideas. He introduces me to books I'd never have read, movies I'd never have seen, facts that I could not possibly have known otherwise (like 15 famous events that happened in the bathtub), not-quite-famous-exactly authors who have changed our family's life.
And unlike yours truly, he has ZERO know-it-all tendencies, despite the fact that he really does know most of it all.
4. He values the blessings we have and looks for ways to share them with others.I don't really believe in "luck." But I sure do believe in blessings, and that's a mindset that I am so lucky to have Chris share. Whenever something good comes our way, whether it's extra food, a little cash, some spare time, whatever - he's looking at who we can help and how.
Chris really brings gratitude to life. He will stand in the middle of our living room and announce, "I really like our house." He might not love all our yardwork - but he is quick to share how grateful he is for the time we can spend outside as a family. While walking through a local park or library, he will remark on how much he loves that we live in an area with such awesome resources.
He is blessed with good health, and has been a platelet donor for about the last 15 years.
And if someone needs it, he'll share whatever he has, no matter how big or small.
5. He fills in my gaps.As it turns out, I'm not perfect. (What, you knew that already? Pssh.)
Anyway, there are these huge areas in which I am totally weak. I shoot my mouth off way too easily. Saying I'm prone to distraction and wild ideas is probably the understatement of the century. I don't often get down on the floor and play with Legos. I rarely use "the voices" when reading a story. And, some days, I am not blessed with the common sense God gave a rock.
Chris is my balance. In all the ways I run around, chasing this idea or that, shouting, "World, look at me!," he stands steady and quiet, ready to catch me when I inevitably throw caution a little too far to the wind and go spinning away.
I like to think I fill in some gaps for him, too. I liven things up and throw in those surprises here and there (like, you know, writing a whole blog post about a guy who would prefer not to be featured in a blog post). I provide occasional tech support. I take the money he works so hard for and develop crazy plans to get us out of debt with it.
My husband is my hero. In so many ways, he's who I want to be when I grow up. And I couldn't be more proud to have him around; I just wish I said it more often.
I love you, Topher!!