It begins with I love you.
This little what and what and so and so and this and that on your 40th birthday.
It always begins with I love you.
But do you know what I actually see every October 31st amid the candy coma, the pumpkin carving and the costumes?
I see our wedding day.
You kneeling beside me. Among the guests and candles lit. Washing my feet in a decorative basin.
I pause at the care you take.
I see the delicacy of the lace cloth you use.
I watch the water spilling over my skin.
And it occurs to me even as I see you kneel, you are not just the hands and heart that lead me Home.
You are more water to me.
Washing over my rough edges, my insecurities, my fear.
Reminding with each steady drop to exhale.
In its stead, I am beautiful.
In its wave, I am strong.
In its roll, I am brave.
This water that covers me like a warm and familiar blanket.
Your kiss on my forehead every night as you gently slip glasses off my sleeping face.
Your hand diapering babies and doing dishes and giving baths without protest.
Your embrace meeting my tears as an old glove offers a perfect fit.
Yes, you are water to me.
Crystal clarity in a world that gets me mixed up at times.
Trusting God in ways I do not know how you can even muster.
With me, with tomorrow and with all that means for us all.
I see your courage.
I know your strength.
I hear your heart.
Today, tomorrow and always.
But this, my love?
This little what and what and so and so and this and that must end now.
For there are costumes to be made, candy to be bought and pumpkins to be carved.
So it will end with how it begins…
I love you.
No matter what.
No matter where.
No matter how.
It will always end with I love you.