Today is his birthday.
Today I am SO grateful he's mine.
I'm a bit mushy- not nearly as mushy as he is.
We were making out the other day ;) and Todd said to me, "I love your hair. I love getting lost in your eyes." Ha! I cracked up and told him he's a weirdo. I told him people don't say things like that in real life, just the movies.
When I was a newly wed at BYU, we went to church with hundreds of other newly weds and a few not-newly wed families who were living in BYU married student housing. Sometimes I'd see odd couples, like a really tiny lady married to a very large man, or a really handsome man married to a not as beautiful woman, often beautiful woman married nerdy husbands, or really tall women married short little husbands. I loved figuring these couples out and wondering how they fell in love. I love how love works.
I always wonder if people saw Todd and me together and thought we were a good match, or if they wonder how a kind Idaho guy like him ended up with a New Jersey lady like me? I'm spicy. He always tells me that is what he loves about me.
I wish I could have observed our courtship and early marriage from the outside. In my mind, Todd has always been practically perfect and I've come a long way. Ha!
I've shared my life here on this blog. I shared the story of my last baby and near death experience. What is impossible to convey is the absolute partnership that Todd and I have developed. I would be dead if he didn't absolutely KNOW I would live.
My aunt told me about the night in the waiting room when the doctors explained that my surgery hadn't gone well. They knew something was wrong- because it had taken too long for them to come and report. My aunt said she had never been in a situation so sad, she wasn't sure she could stand hearing that I wasn't going to make it.
Doctors worried that they couldn't stop my bleeding (three days later they would repair my right illiac that was accidentally cut and bleeding out). They said I would be lucky to make it through the night, that they were unsure the extent of brain damage this much blood loss and 200 units of bold products had caused, and that my heart had held strong but was under extreme distress. The report was grim.
Immediately following this report, Todd called home to report to his father, "Jen's heart is strong! She just needs to make it through the night."
Todd sat by my side with a smile on his face. He squeezed my hand, he saw the best there was in me. He helped me to walk. He was kind to the doctors and nurses. He loved me and cheered me on as I came back to life. It took me almost a week of hazy life to figure out that something went wrong during my surgery. Whenever I looked into his eyes, I saw hope, love, and absolute rock solid faith. He raised me from the dead.
Nurses would comment frequently about how my body responded to Todd's presence. He calms me. Some nurses worried that Todd was in shock- "He's just always so happy" they'd tell me. "He's always like that," I'd assure them.
I have never heard this man say one thing bad about another person. (Although he does sometimes agree with my observations at times- saying things like "Yes, that was wrong. Just let it go honey.") I have never seen or heard him be unkind to another person (he does get strict and impatient with the kids sometimes). I'm pretty nurturing with our kids, but Todd has me beat. He is the one that takes the splinters out. He is just genuinely a nice guy.
I know Todd better than anyone knows him, and he is the real deal. He's solid. He's good. He's nice. And, I still pinch myself that he really loves me. He laughs at my forgetfulness, raves about my cooking, says he loves to rub my tingling feet, cherishes my scars, and lives to make me laugh.
Oh friends, I wish all of you could be loved like I am loved. We dance to love songs as we clean the kitchen together at night. Our love is the stuff love songs are made of. Since Ben's birth and my rebirth, our moments together are even more cherished. Often he will climb into bed after an especially long time on his knees, with tears in his eyes. He hugs me extra tight as he tells me that He was just thanking God again for letting me live. Seriously. I am so blessed.
There are many, many things I worry about portraying too ideally on this blog of mine. My kids are just normal, good kids. My house is a below average decorated kid lived in home on an above average piece of land. Me, I'm a half crazy intensely determined mother that tries too hard to be what I wish I was naturally.
But, by far, the best thing about our family is our marriage. Todd and I are really, really good together. It didn't just happen-- it was work.
We are two very different people with two very different backgrounds. We had to learn communication, we had to learn unity, we had to learn intimacy, we had to learn how to suffer together and how to heal together. We are still learning.
God has blessed me with many miracles in my lifetime-- but this man, he's my favorite miracle.
How I love him.
How I need him.
How I long to grow old with him.
I am thirsty for his love and addicted to his gentle soul.
My cells love this man, my body knows his scent and his touch and his laugh.
I know God loves me because He blessed me with Todd.
I am SO grateful that he is mine, that he is here with me for another year, that I am here with him.
I love to get lost in his eyes.
Happy Birthday Old Man!
You are my favorite.
Life, with you, is good.
PS-- I'm choosing to share this Facebook message I just received from my aunt in the UK. I want to have a record if this note, and I want you to know that I can't make this stuff up.
Hi Jen, just saw your lovely post about Todd, and it reminded me of an email he sent to me when you were in hospital (after your aunt was posting some of the complications). Todd wrote: "I am aware of the possible outcomes, yet I am purposely choosing to take each turn of events in stride as they occur, instead of worrying about what could potentially happen. Information leading to prevention is good, information leading to worry is not. I don’t have the energy for that and frankly, I don’t think it does any good. I just trust that God will allow Jen to experience what she needs to experience, and that He won’t allow her to suffer needlessly; there is meaning in her suffering, and mine too, I suppose. And that He will give us both the strength to drink whatever bitter cup is presented without becoming bitter ourselves." I was so very impressed with this reply. You do indeed have a good man there Jen, and you are right to celebrate him. i would have posted this on your page, but I wasn't sure if he would want that. Love you!! And wishing Todd a very happy day...me