I heard the song, “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted”, by Carrie Underwood this past week for the first time and it instantly brought me to tears. There isn’t often that I can completely relate to an entire song. Sure, there are times parts of a song’s lyrics will touch me or connect with me for whatever reason but in this case the whole song immediately resonated with me.
I never was one who dreamed of wearing a white dress; I never planned my wedding down to the exact details or doodled “Mrs. _________” on pages of my notebook while sitting in science class daydreaming of prince charming. I can even think back to my childhood, playing “wedding” with my girlfriends. Dressing up in big frilly dresses, putting a tiara on, attaching tulle to it to make a veil, gathering fake flowers to create a bouquet, and attaching a blanket to the waist of a skirt to create a train. Except none of this was ever fastened onto me, I was always the one who attached it onto someone else. I was never the bride, always the bridesmaid. I would fasten each of these items onto my girlfriend with care and love, never jealous or upset that I wasn’t decided to be the bride as I was content pretending to be the bridesmaid. I enjoyed being the good friend; the one who would stand up for her friend, help her with the tiny, important details, believe in her choices and wish her the best.
As I grew older this viewpoint never really changed. In my late teens and early twenties I would often say to others that I was content with the idea of living with someone but that I didn’t need to be married. I just never really knew if marriage was the right choice or fit for me. My parents split up when I was twelve years old. I am not sure how this played into my view of marriage as some of my ideas I had when I was young, far before they split up. I’m sure it shaped my viewpoints to some level, the same way your parents actions and their interactions towards each other shape your view on what you want or don’t want in a relationship. I don’t think I’ll ever know what part it played into my choices and beliefs, but it would be ridiculous to say that something that life altering couldn’t have had any effect.
To My Husband:
I remember making the choice to reach out to you in 2007. I knew I was attracted to you (had been since I was 15) but my intentions were not in line with the view of marriage. I recall our first “date” having a coffee together at Starbucks, getting to know all the different parts of you and learning things that I enjoyed hearing. At the end of our three-hour meeting, I knew I wanted to get to know you more, but I wasn’t planning on having a prince enter into my life. I was looking to date and have fun but not for any serious commitment. I was content within myself, or so I thought.
I got to know you a lot better on date number three, sitting by a fire in the park chatting deeper about your wants, your beliefs, your choices, both in the past and present as well as your hopes for the future. I remember instantly being unsure if I still wanted to get to know you further. How could someone tell me so early on that he was looking for marriage? He doesn’t even know me; assuming the choice of marriage came from dating a person and not within oneself prior to meeting the “right” one. To say you intrigued me was an understatement.
The next year was a whirlwind of emotions I never thought I could feel, let alone expected to feel. I didn’t know there was a hole in my soul, I didn’t know I yearned to feel this way towards someone, to create a relationship with that much weight and love for each other. I remember people reflecting back to me that they could see the love I had for you in my eyes when I spoke about you. You had proved me wrong. You had filled me up with a love that I never knew existed and I love that I never knew I wanted.
Flash forward, to 3 years of marriage and 7 years of dating. The thought of children was again uncertain to me. I figured I wanted kids one day but never knew when. Each year together passed and we were having fun, enjoying each other and loving being married to one another. I would watch our friends have children or get the “baby bug”. Seeing the women experience that “maternal instinct”, I would often ask myself where this was for me and why I didn’t feel the way they did. I wasn’t that young, I figured I should be experiencing it by now. I recall watching our friends interact with their children, seeing them beam, the way I apparently beamed when I spoke about you to others. It looked beautiful, such an extension of their love. We loved them as friends and seeing them create something they were so passionate about made our hearts full for them. We could do this, couldn’t we?
The next year I looked at families and children differently. I no longer scoffed when they wandered into the adult pool area on our vacations or screamed their head’s off in restaurants. I instead studied them and their interactions with their parents, feeling my heart soften at the idea of it for us. I remember praying about it without telling you; asking God if this was the right choice for us. I would ask Him that if it were the right time he would soften our hearts and open us both up to the idea of it. Shortly after, I could see it in your eyes. You were looking at babies and children the same way as I was. I didn’t have to ask you, I just knew it; it was written on your face. I remember us talking about this in the fall of last year, both eager and ready to take the step to start a family.
Fast forward and here we are. It’s been exactly just over one year since we made that decision, the choice to create a family of our own. And here I am singing (I swore I never would) lullabies in the early evenings and middle of the night to our little pumpkin, trying anything to make her happy. Sitting in our rocking chair, taking every part of her in. Studying her face and trying to decide where those wide eyes came from. Could they be her daddy’s dinosaur eyes? My heart melts at the thought. And when I see her sleep with her mouth opened wide, just like you do, I smile to myself. I used to hate it when you did that, but it’s such a sweet surprise to see it mirrored in her that I now love it when you do.
Life does have a funny way of showing you what you need. When you open your heart up to the possibility, you can find out who you were really made to be. Not only have you showed me who I was meant to be, but you have filled me with a love that I never knew existed or wanted. You’ve loved me this way unconditionally from day one and have supported me through the things I wanted support with as well as the things I didn’t know I needed support with. You’re an amazing husband and an even more amazing father. Your love for me has extended to our daughter and one day she will come to know this same love that I know now. I am thankful for you each and everyday and even more thankful for this wonderful tiny human being that we have created together.
Happy Birthday Husband.