Today is my husband John’s 56th birthday. I love this picture of him because he is happiest, as you can see, when he is with his kids or grandkids.
This is one of the things that I love best about him. Even if it is difficult sometimes for him to put into words, his first priority after his faith has always been the kids and me.
We met when John was getting ready to begin his freshman year at the University of Michigan. We got to know each other on a retreat and I loved him after that first weekend together. He had hopes and dreams of traveling with the Air Force. His faith and his family were important to him. He was intelligent, funny and very handsome!
Three years later, in St. Joseph’s church in Garrett, we were very happily married and we began our journey as a married couple.
We were so young!
We loved each other very much. We still do!
We had our first baby just after our first anniversary.
We had no idea what we were doing but we loved each other and that baby and this is how our family was born.
John always changed diapers, did the dishes or made supper if a baby or toddler was needing my attention.
It was important for both of us to teach the kids about God. He was a quiet example of good faith, always!
We lived in Korea twice, for two years each time. Living in another culture far from family and friends is difficult. But we all have good memories of being there together. John put us first, as much as possible, even though the work schedule was demanding.
John was always a hands on Dad. I am most grateful for all of his efforts to make sure the raising of our kids was a team effort.
He was not just adept at baby care. John jumped in whenever he could as the kids were growing up. He coached soccer teams, became a Scout Master, and helped coach CYO basketball. He drove teams of boys to AAU tournaments and took many teens on week long trips for Habitat for Humanity. One time he volunteered to drive the instrument truck for a high school band festival. Last year he expanded his horizons by doing the Dance Dad thing with Kris for a weekend in November.
In January of 2004 our family entered into our most challenging time ever. John was deployed to Iraq for nearly six months. It was a test of our faith and our collective character. Those were dark times for the kids and me as we worried over John’s safety (for good reason!).
We were more than glad to welcome him home that summer. It taught me to never take his presence in my life for granted. It further cemented the commitment we had made, “in good times and in bad…”
John is the kind of person you want to have with you when life pulls the rug out from under you. He is calm and clear headed in an emergency. He has stood beside me in the most humiliating of moments and has been a bedrock of strength that I can always count on. His love for me is true and deep and it is what has been getting me through this never ending year.
This afternoon we took a hike near the Little Patuxent River with our son John’s family. This time in the woods enabled me to clear my head and count all of the blessings I have been given.
All of the things that I have been able to do with my life, the staying at home to raise the kids, the homeschooling, are because of John’s love and support. Our home and the plenty we are enjoying are all due to the hard work and sacrifices my husband has made for me, for our family.
John, I have only scratched the surface by recounting these memories. Every day your generosity and love overwhelm me. I hope you know how much I appreciate all you have done, all you continue to do to make this a wonderful life for me.
Happy Birthday! I love you very much!