DH's birthday represents a day of protectiveness for me. We've been together long enough to celebrate two of his birthdays (with another fast approaching) and each time, I have felt a powerful urge to shield and protect my dearest love from the barrage of attacks that come at him from all different angles. I recently pulled out our box of greeting cards that I saved from all the holidays these past two years, and it was then I came to the realization of what DH's birthday symbolizes for me. Of course, it is a happy day too, when we get to celebrate his life, but for right now, I mostly feel an overwhelming need to protect DH from his FOO, as well as from himself, as he begins to abandon his old self-destructive behaviors in search of newer and healthier ones.
I first pulled out the birthday card I gave him in June of 2009:
The inside read simply, "Happy Birthday" to which I added: You know it's true! This card puts it in such a succinct way, don't you think? I love you, DH. Here's to many more happy birthdays. We have our whole lives ahead of us! (Heart) Jonsi
I think it's obvious that the makers of the card intended it to read as a joke. But I neither read it as a joke, nor gave it as a joke. I was serious, and the matter of DH's birthday and peoples' treatment of it was an important enough issue for me that I was angry, righteously so, when his FOO attempted to sabotage it. To "ruin" his birthday with their manipulations, guilt-peddling, nastiness, or trickery was to hurt him, and I just wasn't okay with that. While I wasn't necessarily going to "ruin" anyone's "life" as a result of their cruelty, I wanted to be clear: If you mess with DH, you're messing with me. And believe me, I'm not an enemy you want to have. It is unacceptable to hurt my loved ones and I don't have any problem expressing that to people who have, or who look like they might want to try.
Next, I pulled out the card I gave DH in June of 2010:
Sometimes, our relationship takes work to keep things on track.
But no matter what we go through or whatever effort it takes,
it's always worth it...
And inside it read:
Because our relationship
is more important to me
You're a wonderful husband.
(I added in parenthesis underneath: And father)
To that already poignant message, I added: There is no one else I'd rather be with. Yes, I'll take your dysfunctions over anyone else's. I love you. Love, Jonsi.
I spent several hours in a couple of different stores, searching for the perfect birthday card last year. And when I found this one, I knew it was the one. It conveyed the message I wanted to send to DH: That I love him in spite of his dysfunctions, and I know that we're going to work through them together. In fact, we have our whole lives to do so. As my dad recently pointed out to me, I love DH too much to watch him hurt himself. I thought it rather appropriate that each card had an underlying message: I love you, and I want to protect you - no matter if I'm blocking your FOO, or yourself, I'm here to keep you safe. When DH's birthday comes this year, I know I'll feel the same way, perhaps more so than in years past, given the circumstances.