October 16 is Craig's birthday.
I've always been happy to celebrate the day of his birth, but I think this year, I praise the day even more. This has been a difficult year for us and I've leaned on Craig far more than I ever expected to need to. I knew he'd always be there for me and could handle my leaning on him, but I just never thought I would.
You see, I'm the kind of woman who can handle anything. I grew up starting at the age of 8 without my father, helped care for my younger siblings, dabbled in unmentionable activities in high school -- and survived it all. I take pride in my ability to do many physical things -- I'm a good athlete and I'm competitive and I win. A lot.
When we opened our marriage to new life in our children, it happened for us (pretty much) whenever we wanted it to. When I have gone for promotions at work, I've (pretty much) gotten them. It really wasn't until about 11 years ago that I truly started to understand that I am blessed more by Grace than my own means...but a lifetime of a lack of humility is difficult to tame (though I'm always trying).
This year, I haven't won very much.
Losing Gregory was the hardest thing I have ever endured. Having pregnancy end in death was not something I ever had a mind or heart for (who does??) And while that's the biggest hard thing that's happened this year, there are others.
I've struggled in my job. You see, I have a complex where I want all the people in my group I manage to like me. And it's been a hard lesson to re-learn that I can't please everyone.
Discerning God's plan for our family size was difficult earlier this year. Gut-wrenching actually. Discovering through prayer and discernment that my final foray into childbearing would end the way it did, with no chance at a "happy ending" to console me was almost impossible, if not for Craig, would have been impossible. He helped me to face my selfishness and lack of trust. It was somewhat selfish that I wanted another baby, because it wasn't what is the best thing for our family. And though it was difficult, Craig helped me to wade through those feelings and prayers, and reminded me of all the ways we are blessed.
I'm the more uptight and intense partner in this marriage. Craig is gentle, forgiving, loyal and unwavering.
I want what I want and I want it now. Craig reminds me that sometimes God's blessings and timing are very different than ours.
I have been an emotional wreck for most of this year -- sobbing through Mass, not to be counted on to assist with the children. And at times, feeling like doing nothing around the house, even when there is clearly much work to be done. And there is Craig, rubbing my shoulders, giving me a hug, taking charge of Vincent at Mass, cleaning the house, disciplining the kids -- doing his part AND my part -- because I am not doing it. Craig has been rock solid and is the reason our home hasn't fallen apart in the midst of all the chaos this year.
So...I asked Craig what he wanted for his birthday and he said he didn't want presents (unless the kids insisted, ha). I know he likes cards, but I am so bad at picking one out. There are many cards that could tell Craig how much he means to me, but I have this public blog and all...so I thought I'd write it here.
Happy Birthday to the kindest, gentlest, strongest, most caring man I know in this world. My children are blessed to have him for a dad. And I praise God that He saw fit to bless me with Craig for a husband.
October 16 -- my world is infinitely better because Craig was born on this day.