A Birthday Reflection for My Wife, Susan

Today is the birthday of my dear wife, Susan and I’ve been thinking about a few things.

Things are good, things are crazy, things are frustrating, things are fun and all these things feel true these days. We have three little kids age 4 and under and of course we’re grateful for each one of these adorable monsters.
Susan’s job is not only stay at home mom, but “monster-tamer.” It’s been her observation that the littler they are, the more ferocious they can be – they’re like Gremlins but meaner (when are they going to remake that by the way?)

If you know Susan, you know that she is an easy-going soul … except when it comes to the kids. As a husband and as a father, there’s a goodness in knowing that your wife is hustling to do the best for your family. She spends a lot of time in making Dylan-friendly meals, making extra food for Nathan and convincing Janelle that Legos and food packaging are not healthy for consumption. As everyone has been through this stage knows, there’s a lot of cleaning, laundry, grocery-shopping, breaking up fights, peace-making, story-reading and negotiating snack allowance in accordance to the duration of nap time. It’s hard work if you care about it. (A little easier if you’re a dad though – “Just don’t get too many goldfish crumbs on your bed!”)

Then there’s us. Let me rephrase that, more importantly there’s us. I know I’m supposed to say the kids are more important, but I’m still bitter they don’t nap when I give them goldfish in bed. (And seriously, where’s my watch??). Anyway, we’re closing in on being married for 13 years. We still don’t really know each other that well (“What do you mean you don’t like the NFL – we’ve been watching this together for years??”) but I’m confident that we’ll continue making strides.

I think back to how we got here. I remember early in our dating, we got into a fight (Susan’s fault mostly ;) but before I could apologize sincerely, I needed her to believe me on something that I could not factually prove. It was one of those moments where you were saying the same thing whether you were telling the truth or lying, “You have to believe me … I’m not lying … This is what I said … I know, I know but I’m telling you …” I remembered thinking this could very well be a turning point – she might not believe me … we’re probably going to break up – another crazy one. She believed me, she forgave me, and I remembered thinking that it all felt right. This is someone I could fight well with, someone I could trust, someone that would trust me, someone that understood the nature of forgiveness, who knows, we might actually make it through the entire semester!

One of my other favorite things about my wife is that she’s both new school and old school. New school in that she likes things like Pinterest and sustainable living. Old school in not wanting our kids to get too lost in technology that they risk losing their imagination. When we were mini-van shopping, we weren’t sure about the dvd player. If we bought with one permanently installed, we were going to have the “Please let us watch something!!” conversation too frequently. But we didn’t want to go through the hassle of setting one up for every road trip either.

Last Christmas, we took off for my parents house in PA in the new van with the factory-installed dvd player (with wireless headsets! #livinglarge). Susan told them that they get to watch a dvd later and when she and daddy were little kids, we’d look out the windows and “enjoyed the drive.” I found it to be inspirational but the kids … ummm …. well they didn’t get it. A few minutes into our 6 hour drive, each kid cried – one because she was hungry, the other because of the carseat strap, and the other to fit in.

Soon “Thomas the Tank” was playing and peace was restored to the minivan. Hunger, uncomfortability and yelling randomly were all overcome by “Calling All Engines.” We couldn’t help but laugh. Then Susan said, “We’re only watching one and then you stare out the windows.” I added, “Yeah you cute little brats.” Got a weird look for that but I was trying to demonstrate support.

Life never goes as planned but at least it’s good some times. A lot to be thankful for and looking forward to doing this thing called life together – the good, the bad, the cute, the bratty, whatever – if we can do this together, we’re all going to be alright.

Happy birthday Honey – glad we’re in this together.


  1. K. M. Bowen says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your lovely and loving wife. Life is tough when there are three little ones under foot. They are, indeed, blessings, but they also God’s way of growing us, too. Susan’s fortunate to have a husband who loves her, understands her and walks beside her. God bless you and your family.

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