I think I first began to love you those Sundays when I saw you loving God in church. The genuiness of your heart was so rare. You were working hard, attending college, but still finding time to spend with your mentors, learning about God.
I remember that I was an awkward teenager and you told me I looked beautiful.
I'll never forget the winter days you came over and we started going for walks and talking. And you were always freezing, you skinny thing, but your hands were warm and you'd share your warm gloves with me. And even though you were freezing, you'd walk with me and we talked about every important thing under the moon. Family and life and personal future aspirations.
We were so young, but life prompted us to grow up early, and God placed us together. How I ever can repay Him for the blessing of you, I do not know.
You are strong when I am weak, level headed when I am emotional, precise while I am artistic. We compliment each other so well.
I'll never forget the simple candlelit service when you took me as your bride, our first house on Oswego St. where God sent us Annaliese and Andrew and our lives felt full and blessed. Truly, He had set the lonely into a family.
We moved and God moved, sending you work in your first year of being self employed, giving us Aiden, preserving his life and preserving our marriage through those stressful years of infections and surgeries and feeling like the world was crumbling when really it was our expectations for a perfect life crumbling and we saw that God is just as near in the bad times, leaving blessings in even the hard places.
My love for you grew with each passing sunrise and sunset, family dinners around the table, babies turning toddlers, richer or poorer, prayers and blessings.
Do you remember we sold all our baby things? The statistics of kidney problems in another child was high, they said, and it was a painful road, we didn't wish to travel again. I loved you more when I saw your tears as we viewed Ella's perfectly formed kidneys on the ultrasound.
Our kids have grown so fast, how the years have flown. God sent us our hoped for home in the country and another son. Chase came at daybreak, light spilling through the bedroom window and kids piling around us on the bed.
Sometimes I think that if I died now I would have had more happiness than most people have in a lifetime. It is so much more than I deserve.
I love you more when I see you console a child that is not yours, loving Natalie and now Paris, leading our family into caring for the broken. I love you so much more for this. For being the strong brave man God wants you to be but so soft hearted that a bit of it breaks when you see unjust hurting.
I love you more for being an example to other men of being a loving husband, involved father and businessman respected for his integrity.
How my love for you has grown over the years. As you lay sleeping beside me now, hand on my arm, the words of your prayer are still in my mind and heart. I love you. I respect you. You are incredible.
Many thanks to my heavenly Father for giving me this great love of my life.