Birthday on a Budget

Dear LoverMan,

I am so thankful for you. Everyday. And my heart was full to bursting on my birthday; you made me feel so incredibly special.

You started my day by bringing Gus to daycare. I know you were tired…but you put that aside. You remembered that I am NOT a morning person (yet!). I was able to sleep in a little more than usual…

And when I woke up, you were making blueberry waffles. No patronization here, they were the best waffles I have ever eaten. I know they’re just a mix…but still. And the blueberries! You know; you remembered. I love blueberries. And the best part is that you did the dishes! I was already feeling the love.

You let me drag you to my appointment at noon. You sat with me in the office as I talked to the Veteran Services worker. But you didn’t stay silent. You found the words to describe how I experienced life when I got home from deployment. I’m not the best with words; I speak of the world in different terms than others. But you speak my language. For that, I am blessed. I have you who knows what I’m saying even when I don’t.

We cleaned the house. You didn’t want to, but I did. So, you did as well. You did the dishes and helped pick up all of our son’s toys. I even got to pick our cleaning-dance music.

Then, you let me talk you into watching Titanic and cuddling with me. You let me fall asleep on your lap 30 minutes into the film…and you continued to watch it. When I woke up, you offered to get me some coffee. But you stayed with to watch the film to the end. I was a blubbery mess; you didn’t judge me.

“This movie is stupid.”

“No, it’s not. And you picked it.”

“Why did you let me pick this movie?”

“Because it’s your birthday.”

“ugh.”

“You can cry, it’s okay.”

I won’t tell the guys that you teared up at the end, too. I was embarrassed for crying and you made me feel less foolish by admitting you were pretty sad too. I love you for that.

So, then you went to work and I went to dinner with my friend.

But after we were both home, you had a surprise for me. You packed the car with blankets, pillows, some snacks and beverages. You put me in your car and off we went. We drove into the countryside where the city lights are a distant memory. You stopped the car, hopped out, and laid out the blanket and pillows. We spent the next few hours staring at the stars. How, I love the stars. How, you love nature. It was perfect. We laid and talked. I found about 50 different “dippers” and you made up your own constellations. I love you. I love seeing you in the places you feel most like yourself. I love hearing you talk about nature and what it means to you and your life.

When we were ready to go, we packed up the car and left. We talked about life and growing up. We talked about where we are as a couple and as a family.

“The best part about being in our 20s is that we are old enough to maintain some kind of responsibility and make our own decisions, but young enough to still make blanket forts. Do you want to make a blanket fort in front of the TV in the living room tonight?”

Of course.

I love that you are still so playful in between moments of responsibility and adulthood. I love that you let me bully you into giving me a back massage. I love that you let me pick yet another sappy movie. You cuddled with me. Yeah, you fell asleep earlier than I did… but I was able to fall asleep listening to the sounds you make when you’re dreaming. I fell asleep with your arms around me, holding me close.

The whole day was wonderful. I don’t know the last time I have felt that special. And you did that for me. You opened your heart so very wide to include me in it. You went out of your way to make me feel loved. And I love you. I love you for that and so much more.

You really are the man of my dreams.

and I’d choose you: in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in and version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.

excerpt from “The Chaos of Stars”

❤ Hanna

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