James, James, James… where do I even start on your birthday?!
I am so unbelievably thankful you came into this world and that somehow, of all the paths we each could have gone – we found each other in the windy city 7 years ago.
Since the day I met you – you have been an inspiration to me to live life to the fullest, not take anything for granted, and to remain positive and hopeful, always.
You remind me to never take life too seriously (because you are a big kid at heart), and always make me smile (even when I really, really, really don’t want to).
You are unabashedly yourself and never worry what others think of you – and as such have taught me to be proud of who I am as well.
Because of you I am stronger than I ever thought possible; I love more than I would have ever allowed myself to before; and I chased my dreams because you believed in me, saying “I always knew you were going to be a full-time photographer, you just had to realize you were capable of it.”
Every day you show me what true loyalty is and love me even when I feel I can’t possibly deserve it.
You’ve seen me at my worst (both emotionally and physically) – and not only do you stay, but you nurse me back to 100%. You are truthfully my rock and my calm in the storm. (Sorry that too often I’m the storm in your calm… oops. haha)
The way you always go out of your way to make people feel good about themselves & about life in general always has me in awe. You are outgoing, open, and honest (even with people you have seriously JUST MET… like that clerk behind the checkout counter, the waitress serving our table, the kids modeling for us last weekend, and the nurse drawing your blood) – and somehow always manage to bring a smile to their faces. They always seem relieved that someone actually looked them in the eye and treated them like a PERSON and not just another number. I hope you realize that doesn’t go unnoticed, by me, or by those whose lives you touch.
People are drawn to you because you are truly something special. I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone like you before, and that’s a good thing. 😉
You are a beautiful person inside and out (come on… those freckles, that smile, those eyes?! Just stop! haha)!! I am so, so blessed to call you my husband, my partner, my love, and that I get to spend every day with you chasing our dreams and creating a life together that we will be proud to show our future children.
I used to think you were crazy when you said you liked getting older because each year you were becoming a better version of yourself… learning more, growing more, and experiencing more… but now I see you were right. With each year, month, and day (although I never think it is possible)… I love you more than the day, month, and year before.
I thought I loved you the most 7 years ago when I said so for the first time while sitting on a bar stool at Durkins (haha). I thought I loved you the most 6 years ago when you proposed to me on that pier in Madison. I thought I loved you the most 5 years ago when I said “I Do” in front of all our family and friends. I thought I loved you the most 4 years ago when you joined me in this business to shoot our first wedding together. I thought I loved you the most 3 years ago when we laid together on the couch numb and in shock after losing Phoenix. I thought I loved you the most 2 years ago when you stood by me as I (painfully) adjusted to running our own business and not so successfully balancing our home life and work life. I thought I loved you the most 1 year ago when you took the first step to going to the fertility clinic to get tested (months before I was brave enough to) to show me it wasn’t so scary. I thought I loved you the most a week ago when you sat next to me in the room as I had my first IUI.
But the truth is that each thing we go through (good & bad), each step we take, each laugh, each tear, each growing pain… brings us closer together and I somehow I love you even more than the day before.
I know I got on a tangent here – but it isn’t very often I go on and on about you (because you won’t let me) – so I figured why not take advantage of your birthday when I can?! 😉
Here’s to another amazing year in your life: To loving more than we thought possible, being braver than we ever knew we were, and to living each day to the fullest.