I've lost count of all the places we've lived. The rental on the hill with a view of the courthouse in a little Oregon cowboy town. The houses set back in the woods down quiet streets. The little house near the beach that's so small we have three young boys in a bed. The big house we built together with a porch overlooking a little valley. We've lived in motel rooms and a moldering, drafty dairy barn but we've always been together.
I've lost count of all the miles we've traveled, all the hard things we've endured. I remember watching the life drain from your face in a hospital room and I won't forget seeing a nurse wake you up so you'd keep breathing. I've never been so afraid and I've never prayed so hard that I won't be left alone.
I've lost count of all the laughs we've shared. Our little ones saying their first words that crack us up, the older ones making jokes together over board games and laughing long after we all should be in bed. We've made a million memories together as a family. My favorites are always with you. Like simple things such as around the dinner table at holidays, the kids laughing, babies gabbing and reminisces about crazy stunts the older kids have pulled. I love the memories we share like a perfect summer day peering into the Grand Canyon, a place so breathtaking it takes your words away. I love how we have our own language, a glance and a knowing smile we share that says a thousand words without speaking.
I've lost count of all the times I've let you down. Sometimes angry words. Other times silence. Some bad decisions, some selfish actions. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry.
I want you to feel loved and treasured and honored. You are beautiful in ways I can't describe. Lovely, strong, faithful, determined, loving. I admire you so much. Thank you for choosing to spend your life with me. Thank you for loving me when I'm not worth being loved. Thank you for being the mother of my children who they all adore. Thank you for teaching us how to love selflessly, how to follow Jesus Christ and how to give when it seems there's nothing left to give.
Happy birthday Julie. I love you.