A letter to my love, my friend, my wife and my partner - Dusty:
I know it's the day before Valentines - some things can't wait just for a day.
Ten years - that's how long we've been with one another. Ten years feels like a lifetime - so much has changed - our lives altered in subtle - and not so subtle ways by the gentle currents of each other. In the time I've known you, we have both changed for the better - we compliment and act as one another's confidant, friend, partner and lovers.
"The most powerful symptom of love is a tenderness which becomes at times almost insupportable." - Victor Hugo
We've been through our times of trial - little things like accidentally renting an apartment in a war zone (my bad!) - and much bigger things from health, to finances, to not know what we were doing or where we were going. We both know that this past year has been probably the one most filled with trials and tribulations.
We've sat across from one another not knowing what we were going to do, we've held each others hands watching our infant daughter laying in a hospital bed - I've held your hand at your bedside in watching your pain and not knowing what to do about it, except to sit there and watch your pain. We've been through a lot in ten years.
Despite the trials - we have made each other stronger. You have changed who I am in such fundamental and subtle ways, that I attribute much of who I am now, to you. You have made me happier, stronger, more empathetic - you have also given me the cherished gift of your love, your tears and support in my times of pain.
You have given me more than just your love; you gave me our first daughter Abby - who might as well be a tiny clone of myself in female form (god help us all), who despite her willfulness and strong personality makes my heart jump each time I hear her laugh, each time she runs to me and hugs me and tell me she loves me.
Abby is almost five! Five years old! All parents gush about how smart their children are - but we both know there's something special and unique about her. There's more to her than a pushy 4.5 year old, there's something magical about her that we both see. I can not verbalize or put to words my thanks to you for her. She's a gift you've given to me.
Then there is Addison, our bubbling eight month old. What can I say about someone who greats me with a smile and a laugh whether it's five in the morning, or me just coming home from a hard day at work?
Addison is more than a gift; she's a blessing - the past year shows that even in our darkest hours, sitting there in a hospital not knowing what will happen, something watches over us. Addison's happiness and flourishing is not just due to doctors, or therapists - it's directly tied to the amazing love and care you provide to her.
Every time I look at Addison, I see an extension of you - your smile, your happiness (and when she giggles when she rams me with her walker, your sense of humor). Addison is again, a gift and blessing you've given me.
You've given me so much; you've changed me so much. You've made me look outside of myself and think of others - you, our daughters, you've driven me to try to change the world and help as many people as I can. You've driven me to be better - a better man, a better husband, father and human.
Times change - people change. We have our hard times - we have those times when we both want to go lock ourselves in the bathroom just to get a moment of quiet. We have times when we just don't know what will come, and times when we wish what had came had not. We have persevered over the hard times we've faced until now, and those hard times we face now, we face together, as one.
You are beautiful - you always have been, you are strong - you are honest and critical. I might say half-jokingly that you're my better half some times - but you really and truly are (You are also better looking than me!).
You, and the gifts have given me - our daughters, have given me more than a reason to just keep working, just to keep moving from day to day. You've given me a reason to truly live, to truly push myself beyond anything I could have imagined eleven years ago. You've given me a place and arms to cry in, to laugh in, and to grow in. You've given me a view of life, of living, of loving I never dreamed of having.
I know that once again we face hard times. I thought that perhaps this year might be a little easier on us - but so far, we both know it isn't, and there are probably harder times coming for us. I am sorry that I can not always give to you all the things you so richly deserve - I'd give you anything, I'd buy you anything if I could. I am sorry I don't have anything I can give you today other than my words - darn those hard times!
My gift to you is this - my expression of how much I truly value you, cherish you and how grateful I am - in spite of all the hard times - the good times, the memories, our daughters and most importantly our love. I am but a broken man, but with you I am whole.
Thank you for being who you are.
Thank you for being with me.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for letting me love you in return.
p.s. Churchill loves you too: