In this season of thanks which lasts but for a few brief moments before the season of greed and gluttony takes over, let me tell you what I am most thankful for this year. This can be tricky – just because I don’t mention someone or something doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for it. I’m thankful for a lot of things. I’m thankful for my daughters and my sons. I’m thankful for my sisters. I’m thankful for my friends. I’m thankful that I have a job. I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head and food in my pantry. I’m thankful that I live in a country based on the belief that all people are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I’m thankful for running and leggings and watermelon and warm socks and a hot tub and cold beer and flowers and hummingbirds and soy milk and sunshine and clean sheets and soft tissues and bug spray. See how this could just keep going?
But what makes my heart swell with inexplicable gratitude and my eyes well with tears…what makes me most thankful this Thanksgiving week is my husband. Wayne and I have been married for 26 years – yes, 2 – 6. Like 26 miles of a marathon, it’s a long damn time. We got married young, I was only 5. Kidding. Obviously. We have lived more of our life together than we have apart. Most of our memories are as a married couple. We weren’t high school sweethearts. In fact, we only knew each other for 2 months before we were engaged and only 5 months before we got married…and we’ve been married ever since…to each other.
I have a really good husband. He is a good man. After 26 (think marathon) years, we have had our ups and downs and fights, our good times and hard times. There were times we weren’t sure we were going to make it. We have had peaks and valleys and plateaus during that time. Like a marathon, over the course of those 26 years, you learn a lot about yourself, you don’t give up, and you find a way to keep moving forward to the end. I’m not going to tell you how perfect he is, or that we never fight or always agree. I’m not perfect either, so why in the hell would I expect him to be.
Why do I think he’s such a good man? He loves me just how I am. He has loved me when I was young and not so young. He loves me when I’m over weight, in fighting shape or underweight ( that didn’t last long). He doesn’t care if I have short hair, long hair, colored or gray. He says I look prettiest without any make up on and means it. He looks out for my best interests. He doesn’t let me push him around or manipulate him. He speaks his mind, stands his ground and doesn’t let other people sway his opinion. He’s not afraid to cry or say he’s wrong or that he’s sorry. He has apologized for more fights than I ever have, whether he was wrong or not. He supports whatever passion I am following and puts up with my many moods and personalities. I tease him that over the course of 26 years, he’s been married to at least 26 different women. He’s says that happens over the course of a single year.
When I ran my first 5k in 2012, it was a community run – the Spring Fling in Fairbanks, Alaska. No prizes or tshirts or entry fees. Show up and go run out and back. I got ready to go and he started getting dressed to go with me. I said, I didn’t know you were going to come with me. He said, I wouldn’t miss it. He hasn’t been at every race I’ve run, and I don’t give him any grief about that. I don’t go on every hunt with him. (As a matter of fact, I rarely go with him at all anymore). When I go out on long runs, he serves as my mobile aid station, bringing me fruit and cold water. He was at the finish line of my marathon and the finish line of my 50k. He was there to tell me it was okay to call it quits when I couldn’t finish the Colfax Marathon – after he told me to keep pushing and keep trying. He won’t let me quit without a fight.
When we lost Brice in March, Wayne was the one that made the phone calls, took care of the paper work and protected me from a lot of details he didn’t want me to have to deal with. I was his main priority, perhaps at his own expense. He has always protected me, stood up for me, cheered for me. He encourages me to follow my dreams and helps me along the way. He believes that I am capable of more than I think I am. He likes Irish Whiskey and Irish Wolfhounds. He wants to own a 69 Mach 1 and a Harley Davidson one day. He likes his meat cooked rare, always carries a knife and wears Oakley sunglasses.
I know I don’t always appreciate him as much as I should. Sometimes I take him for granted. Sometimes I wonder if the grass is greener somewhere else (it is – usually right over a septic tank). Sometimes I make him mad and sometimes he makes me mad. Sometimes we irritate each other and disagree and it’s best if we just leave each other alone. Sometimes I tell him that I don’t like him or that he’s being an asshole…I’m certain he feels the same way about me. We have both had moments where we were ready to throw in the towel and walk away. But we didn’t and I don’t believe we will ever throw in the towel.
I can’t imagine my life without him. He is my rock and my hero. He is the one I will live and grow old with. So on this day and especially during this short season of thankfulness, I am thankful for you, Wayne. Thank you for being unapologetically you.