I want to write you a love letter. I want to tell you how important you are to me, how much I cherish your influence in my life, how your love has been a guidepost, a buoy, a sentinel, a foundation in my life.
I am not a vividly visual thinker. My memories are more like impressionist paintings. There is color, an idea of a place and a cast of characters, an emotional landscape. I remember riding on a boat to an island off the coast of Maine, the feeling of the sea air, the wide open spaces and long vistas from that island, and the feeling of awe and privilege to find the eggs of a seabird's nest. I felt exactly as if I'd found buried treasure. I remember following behind your impossibly long legs as you cut the trail through a blizzard in New Hampshire. The snow was over my head and it was cold, but I felt this warmth of connection, like you could protect me from anything, like we were on this wondrous journey together through canyons of snow. It was exhilarating. I remember a rare afternoon of time alone together in our busy household of 5 (soon to be 6), deciding we were hungry, harvesting asparagus from the garden together, finding a recipe for hollandaise sauce, and discovering in equal measure the pleasure of learning something new, preparing a delicious meal, and enjoying it in good company. I remember my nasty, sullen, irritated (and I'm sure irritating) attendance in your seminary class in high school and how you generously ignored me and waited for my storm of adolescence to pass. I remember a service project for young people, helping a family move, where you encouraged and normalized my participation as the only female, letting me know incontrovertibly that I was capable as a girl. I remember the audio letters you'd send me in my first years of college, tying a loving tether across the many miles of separation, honoring my blooming independence and growing intellect.
I don't get much opportunity for reflection these days. Occasionally at 45 mph on the highway. Or in the twice-weekly shower I manage. Or the occasional walk in the woods near my home. Life is full to the brim. There is a house to build, a business to run, children to love and educate, a husband to support, and my own body and mind to care for. Something about my connection to you got me ready for all this. Moors me so the many demands of my very full life don't send me flying in all directions. And gave me the courage and the certainty that I can do hard things. Thank you for that.
We began our journey 38 years, 8 months, and 2 weeks ago and I'm so glad we did.