“Thank you for loving me/For being my eyes when I couldn’t see/For parting my lips when I couldn’t breathe/Thank you for loving me/You pick me up when I fall down/You ring the bell before they count me out/If I was drowning you would part the sea/And risk your own life to rescue me…” ~Thank You For Loving Me by Bon Jovi.
I’m in a house, but its not ours, or a relative’s, or a friend’s. I simply don’t recognize the rooms, even though they have a familiar feel. I don’t know what’s happening. There’s a nearly tangible murkiness to everything. My daughter is there. My husband is there. My sister and mother, whom live a distance, so I am not normally with them. Nevertheless, I get the odd sense that they are staying with us for reasons unknown for an extended length of time. His parents. His brother. His aunt. I don’t walk into the next room. I just end up there. More family members, all of the extended variety, some I am not even on speaking terms any longer. Suddenly, I can not find my husband or my daughter. I panic about it until I forget they exist, until they never even did.
I come to consciousness, realize that I’ve been dreaming a seemingly meaningless and confusion-inducing dream. Nightmare, really. Life without my husband? Life without my daughter? I can’t and don’t want to imagine.
My husband and I have been together for so much of our lives now, that even in dreams I notice his absence, and am stricken by the oddity of it.
He entered my life during a very lonely period, where either everyone was exiting, or already had. He looked passed everything that he had heard about me, whether it was completely false, a twist on the truth, or the bald reality. He took a chance on me. He loved me from the start, even though I was convinced that no one ever genuinely would, that I was unlovable and thoroughly undeserving of any modicum of that sort of connection.
We were just shy of 18, and embarking on our college journeys at separate institutions, even though our high school alma mater is the same. With all that could happen — and all that did — in college, on top of having grown accustomed to few people remaining in my life, I didn’t expect him to be around for long. After all, the boyfriend before him — whom I barely made it a year with — broke my heart not long after I gave myself to him. So beyond being convinced that I would never experience real love, I didn’t want any part of romantic situations.
They say you always find what you’re looking for or need most in your life in the moment that you least expect it, or have ceased an active search.
Or rather, our hearts found each other, when upon crossing paths, both thought to have come to a reflection, and said, so that’s what I look like. However, both soon realized it was another heart, not a mirror image, and instead said to each other, you and I belong together.
So, not only did he remain, not only was he meant for me, and me for him, but he also rallied me during college, all those countless times that I was ready to quit. All those times that I thought I wasn’t cut out for higher learning, that I couldn’t possibly finish and earn my degree.
My husband ended up being more than I was hoping for. He’s been my eyes. He’s been the logical portion of my brain when my own has been out of service. He ended up being my umbrella. To explain this one, I’ll admit that I stole the concept. On Youtube are several versions of the song “Summertime” by My Chemical Romance. One that I came across is a photo video of frontman, Gerard Way and his wife Lindsey (LynZ when performing as the bassist for Mindless Self Indulgence). The final image is of the following text on a strip of paper: “To my wife, Lindsey, for being my umbrella. Gerard.”
Okay, maybe I don’t need to explain it, other than to say that many times when rain has fallen in our lives, he has done all that he could to shield me, or at least help me through until the storm passed.
Everyone needs an umbrella. We all have inside us the capacity to be that for someone else, to love someone else that deeply and permanently. I can only hope that I have likewise in turn been a vital shield against all that is inclement for my husband. I hope he knows that I at least strive to be, even if I do fall short more often than not.
To thank him for all the various ways he has supported me through the years, for accepting me exactly as I am, for loving me in spite of myself, just doesn’t seem to be enough. Nevertheless, I’ll never stop verbalizing appreciation. I don’t think any couple should. It’s a small, but vital piece to the relationship.
That being said: Thank you for loving me, for being the voice of reason, for helping me to find solutions to life’s challenges. Thank you for being the type of spouse that you are. And certainly for the sort of father I didn’t have — that our daughter, as well as any child, deserves.
Happy Birthday, dear husband.