Today, my amazing husband James turns 38. I have been witness to 8 of those 38 years, and they have made my life all the sweeter. James is in Kenya today, as he tends to be on many of his birthdays, so this is my celebration of 38 memories and characteristics I love about James. (Happy Birthday, love.)
1. Kindly offering me directions to the subway, the first time you and I met in New York.
2. Remembering my name the second time we met, in a line in Amsterdam.
3. Learning that you were six when you decided to be a vegetarian, which inspired me later to become a (mostly) vegetarian
4. Your heart for the poor, and the sacrifices you make to serve and love them
5. Your passion for and belief in the power of girl’s education around the world
6. The leadership you have provided and the kinship you have built with an entire community of change-makers in Lwala, Kenya
7. Your insatiable love for people, and your curiosity about who they are and what they care about
8. Your love letters, from 8 years ago up to today
9. Our shared adventures around the world - Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica, Netherlands, England, France, United Arab Emirates
10. You’re an ENFP, which is the perfect compliment to my INFJ
11. My concept of Broadway was Lion King, until you brought me to August Osage County and Disgraced
12. You taught me that basil and pesto are related - and to like them both.
13. I even put a little siracha on my stir-fry these days
14. Your love of Shakespeare and the invented words he brought into the world
15. Your humor, even when I miss the joke but everyone else laughs
16. The world you create for baby Jude - full of exploration, wonder and joy
17. The world you create for me - full of adventure, partnership and being known
18. Surprising me with a ring and a promise on YOUR 30th birthday
19. Your love of New York and Boston, and the experiences in the theater and those cities that shaped you today
20. The nights you woke me up to show me research and graphs that you found fascinating at midnight
21. The way you come home from a bike ride and a This American Life and re-tell the entire podcast for me
22. The way you hold your faith with conviction but don’t force it onto others
23. Your ability to communicate and teach in a way where your audience truly learns
24. Your loyalty to lifelong friends like Tara, Chad, Hanneke, Maja, Emily, and Ken who have now become my dearest, too
25. Running outside with Jude when it starts to pour, so he can feel the world on his skin
26. Feeding Jude peanut butter and Indian food to ensure that your favorites become his
27. Co-writing with me and believing in me more than I ever have myself
28. The way you make Jude laugh bigger than anyone else, and being his best wrestling buddy
29. The way your leadership in Lwala has saved countless lives of mamas and babies over the last 6 years
30. Bringing me to our St. A’s community and teaching me to love the rhythm of the liturgy and sacraments
31. Your love for Penn State and endurance through the disappointments
32. The way you root for a football team that majors in defense (Niners!)
33. Not being afraid to talk to strangers or to tell someone no, and doing those things on my behalf, too
34. Your love of ideas and the way they become realities
35. The sacrifices you are making today to say a bigger yes to me and Jude, even when it hurts to say no to others
36. Your collaborative spirit and the belief in the non zero sum game of sharing and generosity
37. Your love and commitment to our families, through all of the ups and downs
38. And finally...your dance moves
Happy Birthday, James. What a life. It is such a gift.
p.s. I love the bow tie.