Yesterday was my 56th Birthday. It was one of my happier birthdays in recent years, and one of the reasons why is the birthday card my wife gave me last night, here below.
One of the many wonderful things about my wife Jean, is that she always makes a genuine effort on special occasions, to get cards and gifts for me, and anyone else she loves and cares about in her life, that she knows I and other people will sincerely appreciate. She uses her very perceptive understanding of who a person is, what he or she likes, and what will make that person feel happy, liked and appreciated. And for those of us who are very fortunate to be close to Jean, and have her in our lives, she makes us feel loved.
Jean had a brutal day yesterday because she wasn’t feeling well the night before, and she got less than two hours of sleep. When the alarm clock went off early yesterday morning, she was really hurting, and I didn’t think she was going to be able to get out of bed and go to work. But because she’s tough and dedicated to her job, she willed herself to get up, go to work and put in a full day. A very long full day at work, because she was extremely tired and not feeling well, but she got through it.
In the 25 years I’ve known her, I can count on one hand the number of times that Jean has called in sick for work. It almost never happens, because she has a genuinely dedicated work ethic, and she has genuine integrity.
And because she has a heart with a great capacity for kindness, sincere concern for others, compassion and love, after her long and brutal day at work, instead of coming straight home, she went out and got me this card for my birthday. Because she knew that I would love it. I do love it, but most of all, I love my wife. Her handwriting is normally much better than what is here in my birthday card, and it’s proof of how exhausted she was after work. Which just makes this card all the more precious to me.
She and I had a nice evening together last night. Jean rallied and was feeling somewhat better, because she was happy that it was my birthday, and because she loves me, and she wanted me to feel loved… I absolutely do feel loved, because if there is only one thing in this life that I am certain of, it’s that my wife truly loves me, because she shows me how much she loves me everyday, and my eyes are beginning to well up with tears as I write this.
Because of her, my 56th birthday was a very happy birthday. We went out for a candle lit dinner last night, enjoying each others company as we talked about things both serious and silly, and we enjoyed laughter as well as the warmth of romance; our love for each other mirrored in each others gaze, as our eyes met and reflected our shared love back to each other… A love undiminished by all the inevitable conflicts encountered in a marriage and a relationship, and the hardships and heartbreaks we have suffered together for 25 years.
But there has also been much joy for us in the 25 years we have been together, as we have shared many adventures and mutual interests, and taught each other an appreciation for experiences that we might have never known individually without each other.
She gave me an appreciation for romantic and erotic French movies. I gave her the experience of wilderness hiking and camping in places of great natural beauty and splendid isolation. She taught me how to ski; both cross country and alpine skiing. I taught her how to advance from being a novice scuba diver with only three ocean dives of experience, to a highly skilled and experienced scuba diver, with over 200 dives worth of experience, and the ability to handle the level of difficulty for almost any recreational dive, skillfully and safely.
She encouraged me to read books that I would never have read and enjoyed, without her knowledge of them, and she introduced me to the work of some of the world’s greatest photographers. Her experience as a professional photographer and photo editor, taught me how to be a better amateur photographer.
I taught her about the Boston Red Sox and the unique experience of watching baseball played in Fenway Park, where the fans are closer to the action on the field than in any other Major League ball park, except for Wrigley Field in Chicago. As a result we shared the experience of the most thrilling and dramatic MLB playoff series ever in 2004, when the Red Sox lost the first three straight games to the New York Yankees, and faced elimination, but then rallied to win the next four games, and win the American League Championship. Soon after, the Red Sox won the World Series – for the first time in 86 years. Jean was just as ecstatic as any Red Sox fan in all of New England, or anywhere else.
I helped her overcome her fear of heights. She helped me to become more patient, and less angry and confrontational with difficult people. (a work still in progress)
For 25 years, as our relationship has grown and become much deeper, we have become best friends and companions, as well as passionate lovers. And when we are not fighting, as all couples do at times, we love each others’ sense of humor, and we love laughing together.
After we got home from the restaurant, we made love. Again, like countless times before, we shared the transcendental experience of physical ecstasy combined with a love so deep for one another, that it became a union of our souls and very beings, in which we knew a profound peace like no other, as we held each other close in a tight but tenderly soothing embrace. We were very passionate lovers 25 years ago, and that passion burns even more brightly now.
But our love has become so deep and powerfully enduring, that I truly believe even if our sexual contact was no longer possible, we would both still love each other just as much.
Jean continues to teach me an ongoing lesson of the true value of love and caring compassion for other people, both those closest to us, and on the other side of the world, and she teaches me not only with her words, but by her life example. It’s an ongoing lesson that I need to keep learning, because I can be a difficult and uncooperative student at times.
My father taught me a sense of social compassion for the poor, the sick, the weak and disadvantaged, and those who are unfairly and unjustly marginalized by our society, and he also taught me by his own life example. But Dad had some blind spots, and like my father before me, occasionally there have been times when my social conscience hasn’t stopped me from being being unkind and even cruel to those closest to me, who love me the most, even my loving wife, when there are arguments and I get angry.
While I have never been physically abusive to my wife, or any other woman, or anyone in my family, like my Dad in the past, my ability to be very articulate can hurt people deeply, when I’m angry and my words become weapons used against them.
This is a card that I gave to my wife. I picked this card, because we had recently been scuba diving at night, and after our dive was over and we were on the surface, we floated on our backs to look up at a clear and beautiful night sky. We saw billions of stars; like countless pinpoints of light sparkling in the vast blackness of space, while a very bright full moon shined down on the ocean waters all around us, creating silver dancing highlights on the dark and gentle waves that gently rocked us, as we floated in the water side by side, holding hands, while looking up at the infinity of the universe above us.
I don’t remember much about the details, but I can tell from what I wrote inside, that I had hurt her, and I was trying to express my deep and sincere regret for hurting the woman who has loved me more than any other, the woman that I love more than my own life.
Excuse my handwritten scrawl… But in that message I poured my heart out to my wife all that I think, feel so deeply and profoundly believe, and most of all, how much I truly love her, and how much I’d be lost without her.
My wife is human and not perfect, but I often call her my Angel, because she seems like an Angel to me. Some of you know that on the day that Jean and I first met, on August 2nd, 1987, I saved her life, by saving her from drowning during a scuba diving emergency. I’ve often thought that on the day we met, I saved her life… and she’s been saving my life ever since.
She’s 52 years old now, but she looks at least 10 years younger, and although she’s gained some weight, it has improved her shape, since back in 1987 at 5’8″ she was on the edge of too thin, but still quite attractive with her long and nicely shaped legs.
Jean on my Birthday in 1989. A very Happy Birthday to me! ;-)
Now she’s more pleasingly round and curvacious, with her long and shapely slender legs just as impressive as ever. Her daily devotion to the practice of Yoga all her adult life, has kept her body smooth and firm, and she still can wear a bikini with pride, while catching the eye of many admiring glances from guys of all ages.
Jean rocking a bikini in 1998. At age 52 her shape is very similar today in late 2012.
In ways, she has the personality of 1960s flower child, with an aversion to wearing makeup, or coloring her greying hair. She still looks good enough to be out in public without makeup, and I don’t mind the grey in her hair.
Jean at 50 yrs old. A touch of grey, no makeup, no problem…
But I do always enjoy it when she does wear makeup, because it highlights her pretty hazel-green eyes. She wore makeup for me last night, and her hazel-green eyes looked more green than usual, with a warm and sparkling glow as she smiled. She looked enchantingly attractive as I stared into her pretty eyes, and as she returned my gaze, I could see her eyes glowing with her love for me. My heart swelled with love for her in return, and I felt deeply moved, as once again I realized how fortunate I am to feel so loved by her, and to have her in my life, as my one true Soul mate, and my wife.
In recent years, I’ve had mixed emotions about my birthday, and the arrival of another birthday has made me feel like I’m one year closer to being a very old man, which hasn’t made me all that happy.
But last night on my 56th Birthday, my lovely and wonderful wife made me feel like I was young and in my prime again, and I was very happy. Because I’m a very lucky guy, and I know it.