Today is my husband’s 51st birthday. This year, we made an agreement of no birthday or Christmas gifts to each other. We are taking a family cruise Jan 1st and that is our gift to each other. We are both more into making memories through trips and time spent than we are into “things.” So this arrangement works great for me.
I wanted to give him something, and not have to wait until the cruise. So I am writing this blog in his honor to tell him and the world just how special of a man he is in so many ways.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT- IF YOU DO NOT LIKE SWEET, ROMANTIC, SAPPY STORIES, STOP READING NOW. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT FROM A BIRTHDAY BLOG FOR THE LOVE OF MY LIFE? SOMETHING ANGRY???
Ben and I have been married since May of 2006 and most of you know our fairy tale story of meeting after I came to Mobile two weeks after Hurricane Katrina. Everyone who has read my book, After the Rain knows how we fell in love and how God worked a miracle when he put two people together who both thought they would never find “the one.”
There are so many things that I love about Ben and the fact that we fell in love at Christmas time and he has a December birthday, makes December so very special for us. It is really easy for me to say that Ben is my best friend and soul-mate and a great husband and father. But I do not think many people realize truly what kind of man he truly is inside.
Ben really is my best friend. He is a rock and the rock of this family. Ben always supports anything I can dream or want to do 150%. He loved me at 325 pounds, but when I said I was ready to do something about my weight once and for all and researched bariatric surgery, he was totally on board as soon as he educated himself on the facts. He slept at the hospital with me and has been my supporter since day one.
Ben totally changed the way he ate and cooked and for a southern chef, that was a big adjustment. He took up running with me and never looked back. In the process, he has gotten the whole family on board with eating healthier and there is now no junk food in our home.
My husband is an amazing father. When he married me, he already had two beautiful daughters, and took on the role of father to my three sons instantly and is a large reason they are the fine young men they are today. He actually adopted them, and they have all called him dad from the time we were married only a couple of months. If you speak to the boys, they will tell you all he has done for them. He is the one who taught Grant to be a man, and now grant is a husband and father and serving our country in the Navy. Connor is a wonderful basketball coach and a wonderful cross-country runner. Ben is the one who taught him that. Connor also opens the car door for his mother now. That impresses me even more. Ben also taught Reed to play baseball and now Reed has MLB dreams. Those seem like small things, but to three young men, they mean the world. These three young men are all so amazing and so different and he has shaped a lot of that.
Ben has also instilled so many of his own beliefs and work ethics into our daughters. Amanda is 23 and in grad school and the finest example of a Christian young lady you could ever hope to see. She has never been in any kind of trouble and any parent would be proud to have this beautiful young lady as a daughter. Abby is on her way to a career in broadcast journalism and has her dad’s crazy silly personality and is also a fine young woman who any parent would be proud of for sure.
We have never in our house used the term “stepdaughter” or “stepson” and never will. They are our sons and our daughters, through good and bad. You cannot blend two families without some hiccups. However, Ben never flinched and while we have had some bumps in the road, this family is as close-knit and strong as any blood family could ever hope to be. The kids just refer to each other as sister and brother. Again, no step in there.
Many who meet us do not even realize we are like the Brady Bunch minus one girl. They do not even realize that the boys were mine and the girls were his. They see one coherent unit and I credit Ben with most of that as the rock of this family.
Ben spoils me. Period. Yep, I know it and everyone jokes about it, but he does and he loves it. The really nice thing about our marriage is that I was never treated like a princess and he always wanted someone to spoil who would appreciate it and realize how lucky they were to have him. When I say spoil, I do not mean with material things, but with giving of himself. You think I am kidding?
I am NOT allowed to open a car door or door to a building. No true southern gentleman would do anything less. He takes care of me in that way and I love it for sure.
I wake up each morning with a steaming hot cup of coffee by my bedside. It is just sweet gesture that he likes to do and I gladly accept. When I worked outside the home, my travel mug of coffee would be in my car every morning as I left for work and in winter the heat would be on too. (IT’S OKAY- YOU CAN ROLL YOUR EYES AND SAY EWWW SAPPY ETC., WE DON’T MIND)
He has NEVER let me drive when we are going places. (OKAY- WHEN HE HAD THE KIDNEY STONE AND LIED AND SAID HE PASSED IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T WANT OUR TRIP TO TUSCALOOSA FOR THE ALABAMA HOMECOMING GAME CANCELLED LAST YEAR, IT FLARED BACK UP ON THE ROAD AND HE HAD TO LET ME DRIVE FOR ABOUT AN HOUR!)
Ben truly likes taking care of me and I have never had a man do that and so I gladly accept and it works for us both. He treats me like a princess every day and that is something that took a lot of getting used to, but I ADORE IT NOW!
We go through life the way we cross the finish line in every race we run, hand in hand. I could never have even finished my first 5k much less a half marathon without him encouraging me and holding my hand to the end!
We often speak about people and say that they never put themselves first and do a lot for others. This is SO TRUE for Ben in every sense of the word. He is in the healthcare industry and most of his clients are doctors, hospitals, and assisted living homes. One of the defining moments in our relationship, and part of how I truly fell in love with Ben, was when I went with him that first Christmas we were dating as he played Santa at these facilities.
This is not something he gets paid to do and not part of his job description at all, and yet he does it as a gesture of kindness. when these facilities have their Christmas parties, there is Ben, in his Santa suit at the party, with the kids and I with him giving out candy canes. Ben takes it a step further though. After doing the party for these facilities, he then goes room to room to see all of the people who are too weak or sick to make it to the party.
I just cannot express the love and emotions that run through me as I see him with these elderly people, making them smile and laugh for a minute. Some of these residents will not even get a visit from a relative during the holidays. I will never forget one lady we met last year who was 100 years old and wanted to marry Ben. She was so adorable!
It is almost overwhelming for me sometimes. This picture is from that first year when we were still dating……yep I fell head over heels even more that day for sure!
Many times at these events, it is hot and he is usually sweating profusely under that suit, but he never breaks character or loses that smile. It is so much fun for me to watch him filling others with joy. (OKAY- EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE FACILITY THAT FIRST YEAR WE WERE DATING WHERE THE NURSES DID NOT KNOW I WAS THE FUTURE MRS. CLAUS AND THOUGHT IT WOULD BE CUTE TO ASK IF THEY COULD SIT ON SANTA’S LAP.)
He is just a very giving person and never expects anything in return. He has always coached sports, taught Sunday school, helped communities after natural disasters, and the list goes on and on and on. In addition to a very demanding full-time job, he does his cooking demos, does some catering and personal chef services on the side, produces my radio show, does all of the marketing for The Bariatric Guru LLC and keeps ME in line!
Those who know me well know that I am a moody, emotional, sappy, sometimes cranky, and often very complicated person. Ben takes all of that in stride and while I am SURE there are days where he wants to strangle me, he just continues to love and give. I am needy, and can be hard to handle and yes, I even whine sometimes. Ben doesn’t complain (WELL NOT TOO OFTEN AT LEAST) He has this uncanny ability to read me and pampers me when needed and puts me in my place when needed as well! Anyone that can keep me from eating Doritos HAS TO BE A GOOD MAN!
Of course he is not perfect. He snores, drives too fast sometimes, and can be a bit ADHD, but I will take those traits ANY DAY to get the rest of the package! (HE CAN BE A BIT CRANKY TOO, BUT DON’T TELL HIM I SAID THAT)
I just cannot even wrap my brain around the events that led to our meeting and falling in love and even just being in the same town. YES I finally got my fairy tale. And I had to kiss a lot of frogs to get this prince!
Yep, we think it was a “God thing” for sure and he is truly the best thing to ever happen to me and to my boys. I am so thankful for him and for his unconditional love. Sure we have our problems, and we fight like any couple, but at the end of the day, we have a wonderful life and love and are so blessed.
This is the song that was sung at our wedding by the man who introduced us and it really does speak to our story and the crazy broken road that led to us meeting. Click the link and take a listen if you have never heard it before. It is a beautiful song.
On his birthday today, I just want to say to Ben, THANK YOU. Thank you for loving me, for never giving up on me, for loving our children, for being such a strong man and for just being you. You are the love of my life and I cannot imagine doing any of the things I do daily without you as part of it all!
I have made some crazy and often BAD choices in the past, and am so glad I finally got it right! Benjamin Akey is my hero!
Happy Birthday baby!!!!
I love you!!!!!