Today, my husband celebrates a milestone birthday: 48. What qualifies it as a milestone you may wonder? After more than twenty-four years together, twenty-three of them as a married couple, this is the year that my husband and I officially have celebrated more birthdays together than apart. And that’s something.
It is hard to convey the whole of who he is, and the depth of how blessed I feel to be able to share life’s journey with him. As with most things lately, I find the answer in a story about running, in this case a love story.
It was very much my cockamamy idea to throw my name into the NYC Marathon lottery last year, and when I signed up my husband had absolutely zero interest in joining me in that adventure. Even so, when I got my marathon golden ticket, he was excited because I was excited, and when my training started, he offered to pace me on my long runs. The idea was that he would stick it out until my training took me beyond the Half Marathon threshold and then I was going to be on my own. Instead, he kept on with me … 15 miles, 16 miles, 18 miles, 20 miles, on vacation, at home on sweltering hot Sunday mornings, into the fall until both of us were ready to run the marathon even though I would be the only one with a race bib.
Our training runs took us to every corner of our town, and because we both met and raised our children here, it was very much a “this is your life” experience. We ran past the apartments where we met and the first little house we shared, the university where we went to graduate school and our kids’ elementary playgrounds, through manicured parks and developed neighborhoods that were, one time, just fields where we would throw the ball for our first dog. Along the way, he would give me his water bottle when mine was empty. He slowed when he could tell from my breathing that I had given all I could, or pushed me to run just a few seconds faster when he knew I was holding back. He congratulated me at the end of each long run, at the same time that he neglected to acknowledge that he had suffered the same grueling course.
On race day, he rose before dawn to find food for me and send me on my way with a kiss. He and our son chased me from Brooklyn to the edge of the Bronx, before dropping down to find me at the finish line in Central Park. He greeted me with a smile that beamed pride, ever my biggest fan and cheerleader.
With all of the love and commitment my husband knew how to give, he supported my marathon endeavor. It is with the same love and selflessness that he devotes himself to our marriage and our family.
Like those long runs, marriage requires intention, passion, hard work, love, and most of all commitment. How lucky I am to have found both a running partner and partner-in-life who shares all of those values.
May we share another lifetime of birthdays together.