Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Johnathan!!

Today my cute husband turns 26 years old. I am happy to report that he is healthy, albeit a little crispy from his weekend adventure, and happy. Since we are celebrating his first birthday since his cancer diagnosis back in December 2009, this day is a special one indeed.

I have known Johnathan since 2003 when we met at Fall Fest in, a little "welcome to/back to UNC" street fair that happens every year on the Sunday before classes officially start on Tuesday. There are lots of booths from campus organizations, loud music, and most of the athletic teams make a brief appearance on a center stage. It's a great place to meet up with all of the people you haven't seen since the previous year, and a good opportunity for freshmen to meet others and find out what UNC campus life has to offer.

That night, my roommate at the time and I had gone over to check everything out and meet up with some other people we knew. We ran into Johnathan and some of his friends who had come to UNC that year as freshmen, too. I don't remember speaking directly to him, because one of the other guys with him introduced us, but I do remember talking about making plans to eat lunch together at the dining hall sometime.

The dining hall lunch became a regular activity a couple times each week. I ate lunch with Johnathan, our mutual friend Darrin, and Johnathan's roommate Steven. I lived off campus, and thus didn't have a meal plan, but Johnathan had meals to spare, so he would swipe me in on occasion. What started as some friends hanging out and adjusting to college became more and more just Johnathan and me meeting up for lunch, or grabbing coffee, or walking campus. I had a car in Chapel Hill, so sometimes Johnathan would ride back to Lincolnton with me, and we spent a lot of time getting to know each other. Confession: I knew he liked me, and I liked that he liked me, but I didn't think I liked him.

Turns out, I did :)

Fast forward to 2004, our first kiss and a whirlwind summer when we fell in love really fast after that school year ended. I knew I had met someone special, someone who treated me like a lady, but respected me for my intelligence. Johnathan was (and is) an incredible listener, and he helped me sort out my feelings in a lot of situations as my friend before he became my boyfriend, my fiance and then my husband. We had a beautiful wedding in August of 2007 surrounded by friends and family, and we promised ourselves to each other in a way that I did not even think possible. There were times when I wasn't sure that we would make it to that day because of my own fears and doubts, but he held my hand and never let go.

December 2009 to July 2010 was incredibly difficult for us emotionally as we dealt with Johnathan's cancer diagnosis. He was so strong through the whole experience, reminding me how lucky I am to be his wife, to be able to stand by him and be there with him when things were at their worst in that hospital. After his surgery his incision didn't allow him to even be hugged, and as someone who thinks that people need physical affection to feel whole I felt very far away from him during that time. The first time he put his arms around me again, I shed tears of joy, as if he was reassuring me that we were going to get through this together no matter what the odds.

In honor of my husband's first birthday since cancer, I have officially kicked off our Relay for Life season by registering our team, Go JoBe, Go!. This will be our second Relay as a team and I am looking forward to raising money and awareness for the fight against cancer. My husband is a survivor, and with organizations like Relay we can work toward a day where being a survivor is so common that we don't even mention it anymore. If you want to know more about the event, you can go to this site. Relay for Life is an incredible experience and if you're in the area I hope you'll join us as Johnathan walks his second survivor lap :D

Johnathan, I love you more than life itself. I cannot imagine living any other life than the one we have built and shared together. You balance me in ways no one else can. I see my future in your eyes, and I know it is going to be more than either of us could ever dream. Thank you for choosing me to be your companion; I will be with you, hand in hand, forever.

To you, my love, Happy Birthday.

1 comment:

Ashley Lindsay said...

That just brought tears to my eyes, sweetie. Very beautifully said - Johnathan is a lucky man!

Love you both! Happy birthday, Johnathan!