We've had quite a ride these past 33 years. It has only taken me 3 decades to realize your potential. So today, I thank you for getting me to this point.
We've weathered numerous storms over the years. Many self-inflicted, some by forces of nature. I've watched you transform through childhood, the teenage years, and into this ridiculousness known as adulthood.
We've taken a lot of beatings. Broken bones, bruises, sprains, strains, cuts, abrasions, and sunburns. When we were 7, we were pretending to be in the Tour de France finish chute full of celebration on our bicycle. After landing face first on the pavement and learning the pain of rubbing alcohol to open skin, we quickly learned battle scars are easily won if attempting to go hands-free.
We've ravaged the flu, colds, strep throat, food poisoning, and anaphylactic shock. The bee that wrangled its way into our truck at 17 was unavoidable. I'm just glad you were able to tough out the few minutes it took for us to get back to our dorm room and retrieve the Epi-Pen. I'll admit I felt a little badass plunging that needle into our thigh to keep breathing.
We've managed to bounce back from a lot of really bad choices in life. We've hit rock bottom at 81 pounds. We've known the intricacies of operating a bong. We've lost a few hours of life to Jack Daniels. I cannot be thankful enough that you stood by me until we finally discovered that hurting you wasn't a way to live.
We've taken a lot of stabs at a lot of sports. Softball, t-ball, ballet, tap, swimming, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and running. We racked up a lot of green ribbons in swimming. Someone has to come in 6th place. And we could run the court in the basketball like nobody's business. We just didn't really develop enough hand-eye coordination to get the ball into the basket. Thankfully, we found running.
Which brings me to the present tense.
You have shown me that you are stronger and more beautiful than I've thought.
Despite the current batch of poison ivy that has sprouted under your lower lip, the flaking scabs across your left leg, and missing toenail with accompanying blister on your right foot, you are truly stunning. I have asked more of you this year than ever before and you've done nothing but support me through every step.
And today, I celebrate how much I appreciate every perfect imperfection.
Because someday I will not be able to do what I can do today. And what I can do today gets bigger and better as each day passes.
Those 25 mile weeks have inched to 45 mile weeks. Those treadmill sessions to avoid the heat have been replaced by long runs in 90°. Those flat Greenway runs have been sprinkled with single-track switchbacks full of roots. The goal is no longer just to finish, but to compete.
I love how your muscular legs power up the hills without a complaint. I love how your lungs and heart work as a team to give me the air and blood required to get faster. I love how your feet endure 40 hours of standing on concrete floors each week and another 7 hours of running without pain.
I love how your biceps allow you to lift furniture with relative ease. I love how your stomach can endure a plate of nachos and a pint of beer as the precursor to 20 miles in the morning. I love that you have taut areas rippling with muscles and yet, a softness that says I love running, but I also love Oreos.
It's so easy to get mad at you body. You aren't one of a world-class athlete or a supermodel. You don't have defined abs and your skin is ridiculously sensitive.
But don't compare yourself. You are amazing because of what you can do. Being the best version of you is all that we need in this life. So let's be proud of all the fantastic things we do together every day.