My sweet Jimmy,
Today, you cross over the “the other side” of your 20s. I can tell you aren’t excited about it.
But you should be. Because I love the man you have grown into being, and I like him more and more each and every year. 26 is already looking good on you (yeah, I am talking about those sky blue pants you wore to work today!)
Do you remember our first birthday we celebrated together? I do.
It was your 15th birthday. We weren’t yet dating, but it wasn’t our first date. You had taken me to our first high school Homecoming dance 2 weeks earlier. So I was holding out hope that maybe you would ask me out at your party.
I remember I was wearing a brand new pair of jeans- I had split my other pair the night before at a corn maze with a group of friends. You were there, too, and I thought maybe that was going to be the night. But with my new jeans that were a bit extra tight, I felt pretty good about you making a move on this night instead.
Your dad still likes to make fun of me for being so obvious that night. But having gone to private school with the same 20 kids my whole life, you were different. Your public school friends were there, which made you seem a little extra cool.
Your chunky white skater shoes, however, did not. I always hated those.
I don’t really know what we all did that night -there was certainly a bon fire, which is a standard for any Bertelsen gathering. And then some street roaming in your neighborhood in the dark- something we never did at my parties with Catholic school friends. At those parties, we had cake and balloons and pre-approved events. You talked to your friends a lot about how your old Junior high was, how it was different at your new private school. They talked about the real parties they had -with spin the bottle and the likes.
I remember worrying SO much about what to give you as a gift. Do you remember what it was? I sure don’t. But I wrapped it in a blue bag with green tissue paper because you told me those were your favorite colors.
And I got to get know your parents for the first time. They kept insisting I call them “Steve” and “Mary”…I think it took a few months before I actually did. That felt really cool. None of my friends’ parents had first names. Always Mrs. and Mr. Or especially Doctor, if that was the case.
And so I have celebrated the last 10 birthdays with you, with this one bringing in number 11. Even when you lived in Detroit, I came out for your birthday- and you turned the tables on me and asked me to be your wife. We dined that night on a cardboard box in your empty apartment.
I feel exceedingly lucky to have snagged you first and to be the girl that has spent every October 20th with you since 2005. You have grown each year. I am proud of that. (But literally, I was nearly as tall as you that first year, so you have grown a good 10 inches as well)
You’ve changed from that freckle faced skinny boy in cargo shorts and skater shoes to a generous man with kind eyes, a joyful easy laugh and a stellar wardrobe. Everyone that meets you can’t help but loving you.
My better half and more.
I know you hate this movie as much as I love it, but this quote from About Time is my absolute favorite because, to me, it was written for you:
“We’re all quite similar in the end. We all get old and tell the same tales too many times. But try and marry someone kind. And this is a kind man with a good heart.”
And even better, when we celebrate with a swanky set course dinner tonight, you will be wearing classic leather loafers instead of chunky skater shoes. And that sums up your development perfectly.
Your best girl.