Happy Birthday Danny!

Our first birthday of Dan’s together
2005
Happy birthday to my husband Danny! This year is pretty big … for being so quiet. Yes we will celebrate tonight by hanging with our Ganmommy while my family is out of town. We have talked about a quiet night of take out and football with you two sports nuts or maybe a venture out for an early dinner at one of our favs….. but all in all we will be flying under the radar. No parties this year, no trip, no big adventure and normally that would really worry me. After spending holidays, birthday, anniversaries, and just days and days in hospitals, it would feel almost blasphemous to not be celebrating BIG! In fact I am pretty sure I promised myself our world would never be that way ….. we should always do something fun or exciting or bigger because we know the precious gift of life. But you know what we didn’t know? The amazing gift of normalcy.

 

Right now we are standing at one of the biggest forks in the road of our lives and our marriage. It feels like we are looking at one of those signs with all the different options and arrows pointing this way and that. For years we followed one arrow: this way to survival. In fact I am pretty sure we didn’t bother looking at signs or even up ahead, it was just one foot in front of the other. There were moments of immense joy that wasn’t just a pit stop in the our journey – but a reason to celebrate and appreciate. Some of these were even disguised as the ultimate destination.

 

You know in cartoons when they are out in the dessert and a mirage of a pretty lake or pool would pop up with a palm tree or two and fancy food or yummy drinks? The cartoon character would go running to it and usually get just a mouthful of sand. It was sorta like, except we wouldn’t get sand. No, we were blessed with a chance to enjoy the pool, taste the fruits of the labors, and celebrate the heck out of arriving. Those days were incredible and although getting to them was often awful, because the only path there was to survive the heartache: “these lungs are a perfect match” , “we can actually move out and live on our own” , “puppy is yours” , “I got the job”, “Your COTA account reached its fundraising goal”. Since those moments were born out of scarcity, fear, near death, seeing their arrival felt almost magical. Many times we felt blessed for the chance to experience them, only to keep learning that true blessing comes in learning to weather the mess. Our lives were uniquely beautiful and we were lucky to be the ones gifted with them.  But even with these little moments of bliss, eventually with the gift of life you return to the journey…. because those were not the destination.

 

Now we are at a crossroads of many options. Before there were choices, but typically they were limited to one or two choices (like “list or don’t list” ), yet suddenly we have so many choices. It is bizarre and between the moments of overload that have arisen from realizing life was chosen and now suddenly given, there has been this very clear shift, no matter all our choices we are left with one main goal: live life BIG. My favorite of your most recent perspectives is: “I have already had my retirement – it was when I was sick and couldn’t do anything, so I am happy doing life as long as I can til the day I die.” Suddenly when my a-type is trying to help us select just one option or path and just start with the changes there, you are encouraging us to choose 3 to 5 options and just run as hard as we can at them all! And not just the obvious choices, rather to go for our dreams that are sorta confusing and scary and desirable and make those in our inner circle wonder if we have sorta gone a little mad – yet you make them all sound so possible. As you remind me, if we are here in this life we gotta go for it right?

 

You have bought in to my love for self help, personal goals, and finding ways to grow – challenging us to take it a step further: layout plans and go for them together. Gym time together, eating plans, health desires – I never thought we would be on the same page and always sorta doing that part of life on our own…. in fact I used to sort of lament that loss. So on the days you press us both to get off the couch and go for that run or hit that gym or order that salad and I am suddenly annoyed that I now have two voices yelling at me: my personal internal competitor and now my husband, that at one point I was sad that I thought it would never happen (even if I would rather eat that popcorn and watch just one more show 🙂).  Its not just about making the big decisions, its about being able to make them with energy and health – who knew health would be about fitness and not avoiding the hospital.

 

Earlier this year we jumped after some dreams and they went a little pear shaped on us. I walked away from those a little bruised and deflated and you have used it as a catalyst to make plans B and Cs for the new current dreams we are chasing. Danny – you are a ball of energy and I swear sometimes it is like seeing the world through a whole new lens. Yet here is the funny thing, we have these dreams – that are big and when we share them a little unexpected, but in a lot of ways they are sorta just normal. It is just surprising that we can do them. The guy held back by CF, the wife overwhelmed with having to caregiver and be the provider…… in the middle of all the change its like we took those clothes off and are putting on all new personas. As of today we aren’t selling our belongings and traveling the world or planning on buying a zoo (yet 🙂)or adopting 15 orphans – but we are embarking on two brand new careers, we are discovering paths to a future with a family, we are dreaming of home ownership and the ability to live financially stable. These things aren’t exactly earth shattering and can be pretty “normal” but for us, they are DREAMS. They were the impossibles made possible. Some of them are a little surprising and I have yet to tire of telling folks and watching their faces…. But mostly they are just living. How incredible that alone feels like the best gift? And I can’t find the words to describe what it is like to live it with you in this season where you are just so alive…..

 

So yea, this year of 34 may end up giving your even you year of 32 a run for its money. And that one involved new organs. So how on God’s green earth could we be OK with a pretty quiet day….. how is it possible that I got you a few gifts but nothing earth shattering for this whole new life you have? Laugh at me all you want…. and you beloved readers of mine can roll your eyes cause I am gushing yet again…. BUT we have a quiet day, cause the regular days where we are doing laundry together, hitting the gym together, food planning together, making plans and able to keep them (CF canceled A LOT on us), sitting at a simple dinner and musing over cocktails where we are (last night how you said “is this really even possible” and we answer it with a yes was THE BEST gift)….. those are the daily experiences that have made this season in life so unique, its not about a moment of celebrating – its all a celebration.

 

These posts are to mark this time in our lives and to look back to see from where we have come. I hope to capture all we feel and when we read this again we will remember. So to wrap up there is also one more thing I want to really remember about this moment in time: Danny, you have found a way of serving others that has really overwhelmed me. I like to think of myself as a giving person who cherishes life and the gift of people…. but you have challenged that over the last year. Its not that I didn’t think you cared about people before…. its not that you didn’t have a good heart… I just wonder if you felt so awful for many years, the energy to live was all you had. Over the past 12 months you have made big changes to both of OUR lives when considering others. You are asking and pressing me in ways right now to really consider others. This year you have encouraged me to be our best versions, despite others actions. And you have found new ways for us to step out of our comfort zone to help others. It has been a gift to learn from you this way and so celebrating your 34th by helping someone else  seems pretty perfect.

 

Happy birthday Dan, all my love,
Jackie

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