Today is my beloved hubby's 40th birthday. I can't tell you how grateful I am that today finally came as for the last year and a half (since I hit 40 myself), Ben has been joking about how there is a generational gap between us as I was in my 40s and he was in his 30s. This joke held on until last night, but I am thankful to say, I will not have to hear it again for another 8 1/2 years! Despite his wicked jokes, this man makes me happier than I ever dreamed possible. I recently reread some excerpts from my journals when I was young (I kept one from age 11 until I met Ben when I was almost 31) and I longed to meet the love of my life. I wrote about him often and even made a criteria list with 13 items which my friend Sarah cried for me (literally - with real tears) when she read it and said a man like that did not exist. She told me I would eventually have to settle and we both cried a little more. But a year or so after that, I did meet him. He had 12 of the 13, and he quickly rectified the one missing point to get himself a top score. And I was in love. We said the "L" word after 4 days, I told my friends I would marry him after 8 days, and we were secretly engaged after 23 days. Official engagement came a few months after that and the wedding bells rang a year and a bit after knowing each other. It all did feel so right at the time, but at the same time, it was pretty crazy and I did sometimes wonder deep down if we were not being swept up in things that were not as deep as they seemed. But almost 10 years and 2 kids later, I am more in love with this man than ever and my list has extended to 100 more characteristics that I never realised important before until he showed me. He has so many heavenly qualities that fit into my quirkiness like a missing zipper side that I can do nothing but count my blessings every day that I am lucky enough to share my life with a person like Ben.
For Ben's 30th birthday, I gave him Noodle and Bear, our two cats that were rescues from Battersea Dog's Home in London. They were our first babies and even though I had only known Ben for a couple of months at that stage, we knew we were going to be together and so our first experience as parents began! So in a way, today is the anniversary of the cats too!
And then came sweet Oslo, and then Indigo. It feels as though we have always been together
Next, we added Cairo to our ever expanding family. I had never had a dog before and am a real cat person (cat lover was on my list!) but he has blown my mind and I cannot ever imagine life without a sweet soul like his in our family.
Most recently, two darling kittens joined our family from the SPCA. They brightened our hearts and Ben was inexplicably tolerant that there were now four cats in bed each night, along with my 5 pillows I sleep with. He never complains that there is barely any room for him and instead just snuggles in closer to me. Sadly, our beloved Bindi was not well and we lost her which broke all of our hearts.
What I didn't have on my list, and what I never expected, was the sort of father Ben would become. He is so incredibly involved and is always full of adventure and fun. He is creating the most magical and exciting childhood for Oslo and Indigo and his good nature and intelligent humour are such wonderful characteristics in a dad. There are loads more photos of what a cute papa bear he is on the daddy's day post I did last year too.
I love how he always has time to play the games the kids want to play, be it Playmobil, chess, checkers, cards or in the garden.
Indigo and I don't look great in this photos, but Ben looks cute and is such a cuddler that had to include.
One of my favourite things about Ben is that he is never embarrassed. He doesn't mind if he doesn't look perfect in a situation - he is all about the fun and the experience and who cares about looks - it is such a lovely freeing quality - no ego involved - just pure blissful spirit.
Sunblock all over his face and a yellow rope belt are all part of the cute package of him making it more about getting out and doing things than wasting time packing a belt or rubbing in cream!
And along the lines of not caring so much about image as practicality, you could have guessed the kind of car (toaster bus) we drive. Most weekends, Ben is on his own with the kids for part of the time while I am off shooting weddings so he is the master of adventures with Cairo and the kids. He doesn't like to sit home and do nothing so is always chucking what they need in the car (very very messy car) and dashing off on the next outing. It is often chaos but always fun.
Happy 40th birthday my Boo - you are such an amazing combination of qualities that no photo or description could ever sum you up but please know that you are everything to me, Oslo, Indigo, Noodle, Bear, Cairo, Po and all the ants and mosquitos - especially the mosquitos - they love you most. Can't wait to see what the next 40 years will bring us. xxxxx