Do you remember that night when you said something totally unromantic in answer to one of my dreamy-eyed questions?
You might be thinking, which time?
This one, honey: We were engaged, and I asked what you most looked forward to about finally marrying and living in the same house.
And you, the man still trying to convince me that he could stare at a wall and not think about anything (?!), answered that he was most looking forward to just being in the same room together on an ordinary night. Not necessarily talking or doing anything, but sharing space.
You might have said that we’d each be reading a book, or one of us might be watching TV, and yeah, I’m pretty sure my face fell, and I worried a little about the long nights of marital boredom that awaited.
Even then I’m pretty sure I recognized the gift of those words, though, because they meant you loved me and my presence, and I didn’t need to earn your attention. You esteemed the ordinary moments, though I couldn’t foresee then how much those would make up this shared life.
No doubt I first loved you for your humor and quirk, your steady love for God and your wisdom, your lack of pretense and the way you treated people without preference. And now that’s part of the why, but it’s infused by thousands of daily acts I might have looked straight past fifteen plus years ago.
Like the way you started my car this morning before you left for work because yesterday it had needed a jump, and you wanted to be sure it ran so I wouldn’t worry, and we wouldn’t be late for school.
Like the way you make the girls’ sack lunches nearly every day and ask meaningful questions about their days and their friends and make sweet papa-daughter eyes with them across the table.
Like the way you hold me as I pour out and remind me who I am in the quiet spaces of the night.
You’re a full foot taller than I am and yet probably the shortest 6’3″ man I’ve ever known, and I think it’s all about the ways you bend low.
A few weeks ago, Lala and I talked our “would you rather’s” and our “name the most ____ you can imagine,” and I asked, “What is the smallest thing you can think of?” And she said, “Ummmm…..Crumbs!”
And then I asked her to name the biggest thing she could imagine, and she nearly broke right in over the top of my question with her answer: “PAPA!” she said.
Not mountains or trees or sky, semi-trucks or houses, but this man — you, her dad, who makes himself small each day to fill our home with love’s largeness.
Honey, I’m so glad I said “yes” on your birthday 17 years ago when you put the ring on the wrong hand, and I will keep saying yes through tedium and joy, when you tell me I’m beautiful and when I know you still think it, through returning circular arguments and moments of deep connection, through family exercises (even the lunges) in our living room, through desperate prayers and long-delayed date nights.
I know we will keep taking turns holding each other and these little people up, and I will seek to love you in the small big ways because this is what builds our life, brick by brick.
And I do love sharing the same room with you. You were so totally right.
Adoring you —