I say I don’t believe in soulmates. I know that makes me cynical and I know the most Hallmarkian amongst you have already moved on to something else. But for those of you who’ve stayed, let me state my case. I believe that true love is hard work. I believe it takes sacrifice and selflessness. I believe it is most exemplified in the littlest choices that we make each and every day to put someone else before ourself. I believe that that kind of love is worth dying for, because without it in your life, you’re not truly living. True love is a spectacularly beautiful thing. It doesn’t HAVE to come from spouses, but in many cases it does. Mine would be such a case.
Almost 15 years ago, I was fortunate enough to trick one of the most incredible humans on this earth, to commit herself to me. Her name is Emily, and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you a story all about how I became the prince of a town called – Roberts WI (I had it going there until the end). No, what I’d really like to do is fill you in on just how wonderful this woman really is. But I think I’ll start by telling you all the things that are wrong with her.
She can’t dance. Like really at all. She thinks she has moves, but really she’s just waving her arms and shaking her toosh. It’s ok though, because when she tries, it’s accompanied by the purest and most authentically joyous smile you have EVER seen. Teeth showing, mouth open, chortles and snorts. The noises that come out of her represent pure elation.
She also can’t wink. She can get sort of close if she opens her mouth. It’s the cutest thing really, both eyes close, and she struggles PAINFULLY to try and keep one open, but really she’s blinking incredibly slowly. If she keeps her mouth open, she gets a lot closer, but it’s still more of a seizure looking thing than a real wink. Thing is though the WHOLE time she’s doing it, she’s got this beautiful laugh that permeates the room and just puts you at ease. When Emily is laughing WITH you, you feel as though all the stress in your life just somehow disappears. It’s pure magic really. And the best part is, she just keeps trying, because…
She never admits defeat. Like NEVER. It truly is both infuriating and insatiably adorable. It’s the cutest thing. When she’s unaware of something or simply has her mind made up, she’ll defend it to the death. One time when we had to tell her that “losing your marbles” doesn’t mean throwing up, I thought she was going to break the internet trying to find proof she was right. She’ll show the same spirit when I tell her she’s not winking. “Uh-HUH Aaron. Yes I AM!” All the while continuing with that seizure like blink and that gorgeous, disarming smile and laugh. I have never had more fun disagreeing with anyone in my life.
She’s incredibly unaware. I have gotten used to pointing out the somewhat obvious and repeating things. I used to think it was “challenging,” but I have started to come around. People like me pick up on all the little things that others do – and it makes us constantly worried about what they think, if they’re judging and what we maybe should have done instead. We’re cynical and guarded. But here’s the thing about Emily, it’s not that she doesn’t care what you think – it’s that she believes SO deeply the best in everyONE and everyTHING, that she doesn’t even stop to consider if there is an ulterior motive or a judgmental bone in your body. She just straight up sees the potential and positive things about each and every person and situation she comes in contact with – and she is determined to get the most and the best out of all of us. The worst part is, she’s incredibly good at it too. She’s even made an optimist out of me.
But of all the things that are wrong with Emily, I think the worst one is this. She can’t remember ANYTHING. Tell her something, and five minutes later, she might believe she’s never heard it. Honestly and truly, and with all sincerity, she really just forgets. All the bad things you’ve ever done to her, all the junk that’s happened in the past, the hurt that others have caused, and the trauma that life has thrown her way (and there’s been a lot of it) – it’s like she forgets that any of it ever happened at all. Instead she just goes in living life as though the past is the past, and since you can’t change it, why dwell on it? It’s better to just focus on how much better you can make the future.
Maybe you don’t believe me about just how forgetful she really is. But I can prove it to you. A few days ago I asked her how old she was, and she couldn’t remember. First it was 34, then 35 – I think finally, eventually, we landed on 36. It was funny trying to convince her that she really should know – she swears it doesn’t matter – and as we’ve already discussed, there’s no telling her otherwise.
In all honesty, her point is valid – you’re only as old as you feel, and as you live. It really only matters to me, because 37 years ago today, my sweetheart, my parter, my wife (perhaps even my soulmate) – Emily – was born. And in typical Emily fashion she doesn’t want the spotlight on her. Years ago, tragedy robbed her of some of the joy that this day should bring, but mostly, she’s just not a selfish kinda gal. She’d rather spend today being the dynamically creative, hard working, problem solving, servant hearted, life-giving, joy sharing, and undeniably breathtaking inside and out human being that she is – rather than have us all fawn all over her. For her today is just another day to do what she was MADE to do.
But for me, today is a reminder that MY Hallmark movie came true. My high school sweetheart decided that I was the one who she would bless with a lifetime of all those “horrible” things I told you about. You see, I started with all that’s “wrong” with her, because I don’t have time to tell you ALL that’s right. There aren’t enough minutes in your day. Besides, if you’re reading this, and you’ve met her, you already know all about them. THAT woman, chose me. She has spent over half her life doing the HARD work of being my wife. She has been selfless and makes little choices every day that make my life worth living.
Today I celebrate. I celebrate EVERYTHING about her. All that’s wrong, because for ME, she’s right. I celebrate because I have been given a love like no other I’ve ever known, and a life I wouldn’t change for ANYTHING. Today I celebrate Emily, and I celebrate that she chose me. Happy birthday sweetheart. If you’re wrong, I don’t ever want to be right again.