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Happy birthday, Baby

Today is my man's birthday. This is the 12th birthday I've celebrated with him, and he's not one to ask for a whole lot of hullabaloo. As he would say, birthdays happen every year. Maybe so, but when I started thinking about it this morning, I realized what an awful lot we've been through since his last birthday. And I was instantly awed and grateful to have this birthday to celebrate with my sweetie.

In this past year he's shown me time and again why I chose to spend my life with him. I have watched him conquer major health issues and come out stronger and healthier. He works so hard and endures a ridiculous commute, but he busts his butt to be home with us in the evenings. He is an amazing father, playful, wise, and stern in equal parts; his patience is far greater than mine. He shares household tasks (even writes cute little chores lists for himself) -- and I even overheard him say to our neighbor once this spring "It's a great day for yard work, isn't it?!" Always, without hesitation, he steps up for his mom and siblings when they need him.

He can tell by looking at my face whether I need a hug or whether he should just keep his distance. He listens to me gripe, laughs at my jokes, offers advice when needed, cracks me up on a daily basis. He tells me I'm pretty, makes me feel sexy. He respects my work, encourages me to try new things, and values my opinion. He is calm when I am frantic. He is patient when I am raving. He is kind when I am mean. He is charismatic when I am wallflowery. He is strong, always strong -- a rock, a boulder, a mountain for me and for our family. This man is everything I could hope for in a husband, and it's even clearer today than it was a year ago.

We have grown up together, really -- I've known him since I was 20! -- and we continue to grow up side by side every day. But in this one single year, we have gone through better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health, and I know now more than ever that I am a lucky girl. So today I am doing more than simply celebrating my sweetheart's birthday. I'm saying a thank you prayer, and I'm celebrating another year with my best friend. And I'm looking forward to so many more.

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