After spending nine years with the same person by your side, you can’t help but appreciate them for everything they are and all that they do. August 23 marks the first time Phil asked me on a date. It also marks the same date four years later when he asked me to do life with him forever. Now nine years later, we have so much to look back on. We’ve been through some pretty amazing yet difficult times together. After moving from small town USA to the big city of Philadelphia to be closer to him, we’ve encountered a lot of firsts. We tackled four years of life in a new city together, bought our first dog together, and endured the loss of that same dog five years later to brain cancer. We’ve been through the loss of family members, the stress of new and changing jobs, and the strain of difficult relationships. We’ve moved homes two times, purchased a home for the first time together, and developed new friendships. We experienced the life changing birth of our first child and the ups, downs, and curves that come from life with a new baby. It seems that in nine years, time has flown by, but in that same amount of time, we have experienced so much life together.
When I think about the man I want my daughter to spend her life with, I can’t help but think about everything my husband embodies. Someone who has seen the very worst of me but loves me anyway. Someone who sees me to the absolute core but still chooses me day in and day out. Someone who I know at the end of every day will always be there. Someone who may not always like me but will always love me. Someone who cleaned our whole house, every single week, from top to bottom during my entire pregnancy just so I didn’t have to. Someone who cried at the birth of our first baby solely because the pain of labor was finally over for me. Someone who beamed with pride and love while staring at that baby. Someone who leaned over me in my hospital bed minutes after delivering our baby and cried in my ear that I was the strongest woman in the world. Someone who got up night after night with me and the baby just so I knew I wasn’t doing it alone. Someone who looked at me over pizza on a random Saturday and said, “I will never leave.” Someone who puts my happiness above everything on this earth. Someone who knows that something is bothering me before I even know something is bothering me. Someone who values my worth and role as a mother. Someone who constantly reminds me how beautiful I am, even when I sometimes doubt it. Someone who supports my lifestyle change no matter how crazy it first seemed and even jumped on board and lost 40 pounds himself. Someone I know will support me no matter how irrational my ideas. Someone who lifts me back up when I start getting down on myself. Someone who laughs with me until I cry. Someone who always has my back. Someone who will sit and patiently listen to me vent about my day, every single day. Someone who truly knows what's important in life and constantly reminds me of it. Someone who folds laundry and does dishes because that’s not just a woman’s job. Someone who sees my heart. Someone who sees the very best in me. Someone who is always open and vulnerable. Someone who shows me respect. Someone who shows me unconditional love and grace. Someone who shows me appreciation. Someone who will fight for our relationship when things get tough because every relationship gets tough. Someone who works extra hours past their normal work day in order to provide for our family. Someone who throws their heart and soul into being a father.
I could go on forever about my husband, but what I want you to remember is this: never ever settle for less. To girls and women of all ages, and to my daughter, you deserve the world. And when you find it, hold on for dear life. This is gold.