Today is Gary’s birthday, and I’d like to write something witty, touching, heart-wrenching, a literary knockout, something that rivals the most sentimental, flowery Hallmark card. But nothing like that is coming to mind.
Gary and I have not had a Hallmark relationship and probably wouldn’t know what to do with one. We met at a time in both of our lives when a new relationship was the last thing either of us wanted, but there we were. Once we decided to take a stab at it, we were attacked, lied to, lied about. And the novelty of that never wears off for petty, little minds that can’t stand the sight of Gary happy.
Yet, through it all, through every struggle and irritant…we have survived, have grown, have learned that our relationship belongs to us and us alone. It is a powerful thing to hold onto hope and love in the middle of a battlefield.
Gary has apologized to me so many times for the behavior of others. I remember telling him years ago, as we were still getting to know each other, that I am not easily scared off. Over four years later, I stand by that, and I mean it as much now as I did then. More, even. Love is not something I walk away from.
So today, I wish Gary a happy birthday, but I also wish for him to know, with no doubt, with no fear, with no uncertainty, that I will always love him and will always be grateful for the day that we met. We bounced together like a car wreck at the beginning, scared of each other (okay, maybe I was the worse one), but we have held onto it for dear life and made it work. Think I am proud of that? You better damn well believe I am.
Gary asked me not to buy him anything for his birthday. As usual, I didn’t listen.
It is hard to explain something to him: to find someone who is my best friend, my partner in crime, someone who takes me as I am, who has unbelievable faith in me, someone who lives and breathes for his children, for his family, and someone with a heart that is beautiful, trusting, and boundless…it has been a gift to me, and I just wanted to give him something too.