I feel so blessed to have such an amazing husband. Co-workers and friends will say "he buys you the best gifts" or "he's so thoughtful...always sending you flowers," and I love this about him, I do. But even moreso, I adore the simple things he does. The moments that not just anyone would appreciate, but I cherish. For example, we were on a roadtrip with his best friend recently, and from the back seat, I told him I needed to use the restroom. A few minutes later, I heard JT say "there's a gas station, exit here," to which Zac replied "nah, that one doesn't look very clean. I bet there is a better one for her at the next exit." How sweet is that?
A few weeks ago, I was in the hospital. It was a little bit scary, just because we didn't know what was wrong with me. What made it harder, was that all of my family and doctors, who knew me, my medical history, and how to treat me, were three hours away. Lucky for Zac, he hasn't had a lot of experience with sick people, hospitals, or doctors. I was probably the epitome of high maintenance that night, asking him to text family, hand me chap stick, call the nurses, etc. At one point I started crying. Not because of the pain, or because I was scared, but because I felt guilty that he was having to take care of me, and that I was putting him through this. (When I was sick as a kid and my parents took care of me, it just felt natural, like it was part of their duty. It's different with a spouse.) I sobbed and told him he shouldn't be having to take care of me. That I was sorry that my body doesn't work right. That I felt bad he was three hours past his bedtime, and we weren't leaving anytime soon. I just hated that he was forced to have to play this role that no one ever wants to have to do. I truly just felt so guilty that my health problems, were now his problems too. His response to me (when I finally quit blabbering on and on) has been playing through my head since he said it, perhaps because it was so kind and genuine. He softly said "Jules, I knew what I was getting into when I proposed. I was well aware you had health problems when I chose to marry you. I love you JUST the way you are...issues and all." and I could tell he meant it. That's all I needed to hear, and I calmed down. I didn't cry the rest of the night.
Recently we were eating out, and I made some tacky comments about a man sitting at a nearby table. To give you an idea, he was missing teeth, and had a long greasy mullet, but that's not important. What's important, is that when I made the "funny" comments, Zac just looked at me. He didn't smile, he didn't laugh, he just gently said "That's not you Jules. You're not like that. Why are you making fun of that man you know nothing about?" And suddenly I felt this big. You might be wondering why I would write about this experience as a positive one? I'll tell you. It's because he isn't afraid to challenge me. He put me in my place, and I appreciated it. After being quiet for the next five minutes, I looked at him and thanked him. And I meant it. Because as much as we grow and change with each other, there are aspects of the other person whom we wouldn't want to change, and Zac knows that I don't want to be the person who talks trash about strangers. I wasn't offended by him correcting me. I was embarrassed by my own meanness. But mostly, I was grateful to have a life partner who wouldn't let me act in a way I'd regret.
I really do feel so blessed to have him as MINE. I love him for more than the flowers he sends me...I'm proud of the man he is, the way he treats people, his work ethic, his love for Molly and our nieces and nephews, the way he talks to my grandmothers, the fact he notices when I buy new eye shadow, the subtle acts he never asks praise for (washing my car, cleaning the house, cooking dinner), and a hundred other things. But most of all, I love the way he makes me feel. That I'm special, and that I really am good enough to deserve all the kindness he bestows upon me. I always wanted to be a princess, but he truly makes me feel like one. :) Thank you Zac. Happy birthday.
*Title borrowed from this poem, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.