{Michael and I dressed up in our 60’s finest last fall}

You’d never really held babies before, but there you were — such a pro — cradling our precious firstborn like a football. I envied you, then, the way your hold calmed her right down, something all my nursing and sloppy swaddles and shoosh-ing couldn’t do.

You didn’t coo much then. And I wondered if you were doing it wrong.

You seemed to know, as you do now, that it’s not always the soft kindness we need. Sometimes it’s the type that is unassumingly assured, the one that holds a baby on the span of arms across space — those arms that will serve for years on end, scoop up broken things with huge hands, make school lunches and miraculous meals from a Mother Hubbard cupboard.

I read this morning of the love of God that takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a changed life, and this is what you’ve done for me. Over and over these past 20+ years, you’ve held me in tender ways, let me cry on your shoulder, and then you’ve taken me by the shoulders, looked deeply in my eyes and said, “This is who you are, love. Now go forth.”

You call our girls into this sort of confidence day after day, show them they are infinitely lovable, value their spunk (while it sometimes drives you batty), see their myriad differences from each other, me and you.

In all manner of ways, you speak back to them the beauty of what you see.

You’ve lived forty years tomorrow and left such goodness in your wake — steadfastness, humble strength, always wanting to celebrate the other before yourself.

You’re still not a cooer, but most of the time, I’m pretty sure you’re not doing it wrong.

Thank you for taking hold when I doubted. Thank you for not letting go. Thank you for all the times I felt frustrated you were not more like me, and you remained resolutely yourself anyway. We need you and love you just as you are.


For my dear husband in honor of his birthday tomorrow. Joining with the Five Minute Friday peeps at Kate’s with today’s prompt HOLD.

A note: Can I just say, it would hurt my heart if your take-away from this is that my husband (or myself) or our marriage is perfect, or if you used this as fuel for the comparison fire. I say this is because I have done it: read or witnessed another marriage, another couple, another spouse, another life and thought there is something seriously lacking in my own. I share my post today because this man is worth celebrating, and I will give thanks for what is good. I hope you understand.

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