It’s hard to believe that this is the 18th time I get to tell this man Happy Birthday!! I’m one of those people that remembers almost everything and sometimes it can be a bad thing, but gosh when it comes to Gary it’s a good thing!! I can still remember the first time I saw him (i had on platform flip flops… yes, I just dated myself and I walked by him in the hallway and thought “ohh my goodness he’s short 😉 ). The first time we met. I remember freaking out as a 14 year old on what to get my new boy friend for his 16th birthday. I’m pretty sure it was a cd and who knows what else. I remember him always being so stinking kind to me, even after breakups (Yes we totally claim we are high school sweet hearts but that doesn’t mean we were together for all of high school and college). I remember dates and holiday’s and just doing nothing with him. I remember lots of time spent in the car going to see Gary or him tagging along as I went to pole vault practices in Raleigh on Sunday’s. I remember when he asked me to be his girlfriend. I remember our first kiss (totally cliche… it was in our high school cafeteria as he went to football practice and I went off to cross country practice). I remember the mission trips together during high school. I remember the holidays and birthdays spent together or apart. I remember countless days spent hanging out on the beach. I remember sitting at a Port City Java (probably drinking a mocha shake… if you’ve never had one, well you totally should it’ll change your life) in Wilmington, NC and realizing that this whole dating thing was overrated and that this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I remember the day we got engaged (which was almost 11 years ago) in crazy detail. I remember him getting the job offer that would move him (and eventually me) to Northern Virginia right before we got married. I can close my eyes and be transported to our wedding day. A day spent with our closest friends & family and the day we said yes to spending the rest of our lives together. I remember spending an amazing week in Mexico with my husband. From moving to NOVA, to Texas to South Carolina…. fun trips all over the country & in the Caribbean… from job offers to job losses… I remember way too many details of everything in between. I remember the night we found out we were pregnant with Kenzie and how excited and scared to death we were at the same time. I remember vividly the way this man loved me and cared for me and supported me through pregnancy & delivery. One of my favorite memories of Gary is when he got to meet Kenzie for the first time. I was lying on the operating table and you could tell he was torn to leave me but I assured him it was fine… y’all he has dotted on our oldest little girl since the second she was born and the way he loved her and held her in those first few minutes of her life is something I will never ever forget… those are memories I NEVER EVER want to forget. The memories that I’ve gotten to watch and store away for me to remember years from now have just gotten sweeter and sweeter as each of Gary’s birthdays have passed. Don’t get me wrong… there is a good chunk of memories that I would love to forget and not be able to remember in my lifetime… in our 18 years together… but all the good memories I remember sooo outweigh and push aside all the not so good. For the rest of my life I want to remember how kind and loving this man is. I want to remember that he fights for what is good and noble and true. I want to remember that when he says yes to something he is going to go after it with his whole being. I want to remember that this man sees people & loves people as Jesus sees us & loves us. He doesn’t care about race, religion, nationality, status, money, etc… He will give you the coat off his back and sit down with you and chat about whatever YOU want to chat about, for as long as you want to chat. I want to remember the way he fights for our marriage, for our family, for our girls. I want to remember how hard working he is and how he pursues his dreams. I want to remember how he dreams and how he doesn’t just look at today… he looks forward to where we will be, where our girls will be. I want to remember how much he loves me & our girls. I want to remember when I asked him this week where he wanted to go eat breakfast on his birthday his first response was “where do you want to go?” Gary is the type of man that always puts others first (and yes that can drive me looney at times) but I have to step back and remember, that this man I am married to loves to serve and love others well. So y’all on this 34th birthday of his I just want to tell y’all how proud of him I am. I pray daily that our girls marry a man like their daddy (many many many many many years from now). I pray that they marry a man that puts Jesus first, adores them & their babies if they have them… and loves & serves with his whole heart. Gary, I love you and I want nothing more than for today to be all about you!! I am so thankful for you. I am thankful for that God placed you in my life 18 years ago. I am thankful that through breakups and makeups you asked me to spend the rest of my life with you. I am soo thankful for the man that you are, for the husband that you are, for the daddy that you are, for the friend & employee that you are. I am thankful for your heart and for the way you love & serve Jesus and thus love & serve others!!! Happy Birthday Gary, I love you!!!
This image was photographed by Caroline Ro during Gary & my 10 year anniversary session that took place in Charleston back in October and y’all I love it because this is Gary!!!