Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dear Ryan (Year Thirty-One)

Dear Ryan,

You are a badass. There, I said it.

I can't believe how much you've grown in the past year. Just kidding! Well, kind of... You have grown a lot, figuratively speaking, because God has given you so many new challenges over the last 12 months. In business, in relationships, in becoming a dad--you have never been afraid of change or hard work, and this past year's tests have been perhaps the most challenging yet. But, as I always suspected, you are an amazing man who passed those tests without a fault.

This year was crazy. We went to Hawaii; we had a contract fall through on our house; I quit my day job; the Scout's had about a million things done to it; you traveled about 70% of the time to all sorts of crazy places; your business grew exponentially; we got pregnant and had a BABY...

When the one year anniversary of your 30th birthday bash passed, it reminded me of how loved you are. (Oh, and it also reminded me of Joe's ripped pants. Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end...) You are a great friend to have. Although life's circumstances don't allow you to always be available to others, when you're with someone, you're all theirs, and I love that about you. You really are selfless with your talents when it comes to your friends, and I know they appreciate you for it. Even more, I know that even if you had nothing to offer them, your friends would still want a relationship with you if for nothing else but for the fact that you're fun to be around. You love life, living it, and sharing it. I remember everyone's stories at your 30th--how you guys always seem to get into ridiculous circumstances (and miraculously survive), how you support one another during times of need, how your friends are rooting for you. You are lucky to have them in your life, and they are lucky to have you as well.

This past year, you worked your butt off. Seriously. I have never known anyone who can hustle as much as you can. I know that you thrive on the thrill of travel and of the unknown, but I'll never truly understand HOW you do it. God has truly given you the strength to make the best of every situation, the eye of an artist to make beauty out of ruin, the resolve to endure. I (we) miss you so much when you are gone, but I know that you are doing it for our family. I am so thankful that you have the desire to provide for us and that God honors your hard work. I worry every time you are away from me, and that will probably never change, but I know that you will always come home quickly and safely because no matter how far you travel, your heart is here with me. Thank you for everything you did for me and for your family this year.

I always tease you about how quirky you are: Whenever you get an idea in your head, you're "all in" while the rest of us are just trying to wrap our minds around the concept. I love this about you, despite the occasional eye roll, because you are a passionate person. Whether it's good beer or a good haircut, I can always trust that you'll know everything about whatever you're "into." This cracks me up because if only you had felt this way about school. Imagine what academia would've benefitted from your intense knowledge on stuff! Think about how much you know about the Scout, then imagine possessing that same amount of knowledge about history! Unbelievable! But I digress... :) I want to acknowledge that there is a major benefit to this passion: Whatever meal you order when we're out will ALWAYS be the best choice on the menu, and I will inevitably end up picking at your plate because I didn't listen to your recommendation and got the worst thing possible. Thanks for sharing.

Your 30th year was no exception to your Zach-Morris-like luck in life. Even as your wife, the closest person to you who knows you better than anyone else in the world, I still have no idea how you do it. Everything just seems to work out for you, despite lack of preparation or concern. It is both equally entertaining and frustrating to see how life just seems to fall into place for you. :) Like remember this year when you just skipped jury duty? (Who does that?) And when I finally made you call because I was sure that you were going to jail or something and the jury duty lady said, "Oh, don't worry about it." Really?!? You amaze me every time. Let's cross our fingers that Year 31 is as full of the Morris luck as the past 30 have been.

Gosh--I can't believe that you're already 31. How does time pass so quickly? Every year seems to go by faster than before, and so my wish for you this year is that it slows down just a bit. I pray that you will have moments of rest where God allows you to just be still. I pray that you experience new depth to your friendships and to our relationship. I pray that you are blessed in work and in life, and that this year brings you as much joy as this last one did. (The dogs and Emma Vance pray these things for you too, although I believe I also heard some talk of diapers and dog treats mixed in with these prayers...)

Ryan Niles Shove, you are awesome today and everyday. I love everything about you, down to your gray hairs, old man. Happy 31st birthday!

Love you always.

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