To you, reader. This is an open-letter to my husband on his birthday. Today he is closer to 30 and there’s nothing on my mind more than celebrating him and his existence (what a gift it is, to exist). This letter is way more detailed than it would be if I were just sharing it with him.
But because I’m also sharing it with you, I want to use this as an opportunity to dive into our past and share a bit about how I fell in love with this guy (who was my best friend before he was ever my life-partner).
I hope you enjoy it! It is without a doubt way too long and gushy for my husband. But selfishly, I’m writing a ton anyway. Ha!
Here we go!
(My heart is telling me I want to do this every year for him and our future kids — how fun!)
Happy birthday Mr. Schmidt,
I. friggin’. love. you.
I’m so happy to be married to you. When I sit and think about you the amount of love I feel is overwhelming.
You know when someone passes away and you look back and remember all of the best things about them? You appreciate them like you never have before? That’s how I feel when I write about you.
It gives me the space and distance to sit and think about how truly grateful I am for you. To think about who you are and who God created you to be.
I have so many thoughts about you…
My childhood? Dreamy and fun. Such a blast. My teenage years, chaotic and hard. You know that, because you were there.
I met you when I was 13. You became my best friend at 14 and from that point on, there was rarely a place I went without inviting you. You were the calm amongst my storm. The always predictable friend who wasn’t moody, who wouldn’t explode at any moment… just PEACEFUL, fun, and easy.
The safe place I could always trust. I could always go to for a hug. You make fun of “softness” — mostly, because you were raised as a young-young boy to be “hard” — but ironically (or not so ironically) in those years, you were always the softest safest spot in my life.
Meaning, with you, I knew what I was getting. It was always you. You were always there and I always felt at home with you.
How I didn’t know I had feelings for you until I was 20…? I do not know.
I remember the day you and I were hanging out in my parents living room and I had a boyfriend at the time. You came over in your basketball shorts and hoodie, you were sitting on one sofa and I on the other. We were laughing. Things were easy. I was at home with you.
My boyfriend walked in and the two of you had never met. First of all, you stood a whole foot taller than him, which in my book, was major points on your part (tall girl here — ha!). He walked in suited up, drunk and so “serious.” It was the first time I saw the deep contrast between you two and thought to myself “What am I doing with this guy?”
For the next year you and I remained friends, off and on. Our partners didn’t love the fact that we were friends. I guess they sensed our closeness. I bet they’re saying “I told you so” now. Ha!
When you and I went through that season of not speaking for six-months, I almost lost my mind. I felt like the closest person to me had passed away, come back to life, and had willingly chosen to stay away.
Gut-punch to the soul. I looked for your car everywhere I drove, hoping to catch a glimpse of you. I cried to friends, counselors and was so confused. Did I have feelings for you? Was I actually in love with my best friend?
There were five stages of me realizing that I did indeed love you. Not only did I love you, but I was in love with you:
Stage 1: I was at a bible study with my girlfriends and we were talking about relationships. It came my time to read and instead of reading I bawled my eyes out to them. “I miss him!” I expressed.
I remember my friend Kristin saying “Paige, if he ran upstairs right now, grabbed your face and kissed you, would you kiss him back? Would you have feelings for him?” My gut response was a resounding “YES.”
Stage 2: I went to meet up with a counselor to talk about this possible-new-found discovery. She said to me “Do you really think God would want you to be with someone who stopped talking to you?” At first I thought “No.”
And then I got in my car and realized that the reason you weren’t talking to me was because it made your girlfriend at the time uncomfortable. So out of loyalty and respect for her, you separated yourself from me. Ugh, this made me love you more.
Stage 3: I was babysitting and the kids went to bed. I sat out in the backyard with my journal searching my heart for what the heck was going on. Did I really have feelings for my best friend? And if I did, I had to keep it to myself until I was absolutely without a doubt, sure.
I started writing in a way that was much like this post. Reflecting on all of the things I loved about you, all of the ways you made me feel and everything we did together that I enjoyed. It was in that moment that I realized I didn’t WANT to do life with anyone else.
I wanted to go through the rest of my future with YOU by my side.
Stage 4: We finally started talking again and the first time I saw you I knew. You walked up to me, on your way to the gym, again in your black basketball shorts and hoodie (so easy and predictable — calming to my soul!) and gave me the. best. hug. ever. Ugh, I love you.
Stage 5: I went on a girls trip with my family after that day and was so goo-goo-ga-ga over you. I still hadn’t told you. My cousin railed me with questions and threatened to hurt me if I hurt you (haha!). I talked about you the entire trip and felt deeper butterflies than I’ve ever felt.
There’s magic in falling in love with someone who’s been your best friend for eight years. That feeling — I can still feel it now.
When I came home from that trip and told you how I felt I swear, the stars aligned.
(If you’re still reading, go you babe. I know this is WAY to “soft” for you.)
Life with you has been insane. I wouldn’t want to go through it with anyone else.
We’ve moved more times than I can count. You’ve started new jobs. We bought a house together. We have our sweet Abby. We watched my mom battle cancer and witnessed Jesus taking her home. We’ve traveled. We’ve created so many good memories.
We are so different from each other in so many ways, and so similar in others.
We’re both clean and organized. I’m soft and you’re not. I love to talk about my feelings and you don’t. You’re careful with our things and I’m like “everything is replaceable!” (Thanks for loving me anyways — I promise, I do care.)
You’re safer than I am in many ways. I tend to extend myself for the wrong people — I’m learning. You’re cautious. I hand out Grace like it’s candy on Halloween and you get frustrated when people act wrongly. I’m always working on better boundaries.
You do things without expecting a “thank you” and I’m over here like “fill me up on words of affirmation!” (Haha!)
Before we got married people would say to me “marriage is hard, but so worth it.” I never understood when people would say that. How hard could it be?
Marriage is also great. I would marry you again, 100x over. But next time for less money, at a court house with a FUN honeymoon adventure to follow. 😉
The hardest part about marriage, for me, is how much it has sobered me up to MYSELF. It’s shown me where I am not full of grace. It’s shown me how not nice I can be. It’s shown me my selfishness and has exposed to me all of my flaws.
The moments I feel upset with you are the very same moments that God sticks a mirror in front of my face and I am exposed to yet again, another area I need to grow. Ugh. Exposure!
Marriage has grown me (and Lord help me, I know it will continue to do so).
It’s hard seeing the parts of yourself that you’re not proud of. And then to lay down your stubbornness to change/improve those things. Yikes! It’s not an easy feat. But it’s so worth it.
God has been refining me since the day I met you and you’ve always, ultimately, had nothing but Grace for me. Thank you for that.
You’re someone who’s always made me want to be better. There are so many things about you that I love and admire.
Thank you for how well you get along with others and what a teammate you are in managing our life (#adulting). Thank you for your desires and always wanting more (I truly love this about you). Let’s just remember to be grateful for what we have, too (#thanksmom). Thank you for valuing experiences and building memories and thank you to your grandparents for instilling that in you.
Thank you for being willing to change alongside me. Thank you for making smart choices and never needing to go along with a crowd — thank you for always being yourself.
Thank you for loving me and most of all, thank you for choosing me to be your partner in life.
How lucky am I. There’s no where I’d rather be than right here with you going through, as Geneen Roth calls it, This Messy Magnificent Life.
May God continue to refine us into who He’s created us to be. Here’s to growing together, forever. I love you Marco, happy birthday!
CHEERS (a Coors Light) to you! I’m so proud of you, who you’ve become and am SO proud to be your wife.