This is 29…

This man got older yesterday. Yes. This is what 29 looks like after a day of waffles, neighbor visiting, gun shooting, chokecherry boiling, horse saddling, campfire cooking, exploring with a 3 year old and riding home at dark.

I think he pulls it off, don’t you?

Yes, this is what 29 looks like. The one on the right…the one on the left has a few years to go to catch up …

And if you were looking for husband yesterday you might have rolled into the yard to see him milling around the farmstead tinkering with his new gun, the one he has been dreaming of for three years, the one from “Quigley Down Under.”  Or you might have caught him helping to hold my pot of boiling hot chokecherries as I worked at straining the juice only to accidentally dump half of my work down the sink.

Then you would have seen me stomp to my room and lay face down on the bed and whimper while he slowly and patiently walked in behind me to laugh (not too hard) and tell me that we had plenty of juice, don’t worry…we didn’t need the stuff that went down the drain anyway…

Yeah, if you came at the right time you would have witnessed this act of cool collectedness from the strong and stoic half of the relationship. Or maybe you would have tried to call only to get the answering machine as he was out making plans at the new house site, driving his pickup down the road to see what pops was up to, saddling his favorite bay horse and taking a long ride to the badlands to have dinner with the neighbors, catching a frog so our three year old friend could get a closer look and then pointing out an ant pile and racing her back to camp.

It was my husband’s 29th birthday yesterday and all day long I followed this man around as he carved out his day. I listened as he talked hunting with my cousin who came knocking on the door, watched as he graciously thanked the neighbors for supper, rode beside him as he rode proud and strong on that horse he has been working on for years and sat snuggled in close as we watched “The Man from Snowy River” as the day came to a close. And the entire day I kept thinking…29. 29. 29. I’ve known this kid, this man, for nearly twenty years, he has been holding my hand for nearly fifteen, we have been married for five and we have a lifetime ahead of us…but still, I wish I could have known him from the beginning of it all.

Does that make sense?

Maybe not. I mean, what more could I want than to have grown up with a boy only to watch him change into a man I am so proud to call my family. Maybe it’s selfish, but look at him here. Where was I when he tried to carry this fish away?

Where was I? I wanted to be there to hear his small voice and the excitement as the fish flopped and he struggled and learned to be a sportsman, a hunter.

I was probably riding shotgun in my father’s pickup on the way to the ranch. Or sledding down the hills outside this very door oblivious to the young boy in town learning how to hold a bow and arrow. Unaware that the kid in the Batman pajamas sword- fighting with his little brother would one day become my whole world.

I just didn’t want to miss that. I didn’t want to miss the look on his face when he got his first puppy for his eleventh birthday or the cake his father made for him…I wanted to be there to taste it with him.

But I was busy making my own way, my own memories, my own experiences which somehow prepared me for catching this boy’s attention. This boy who wanted to be a mountain man, a cowboy, a trapper, a ninja, a wrestler and football player. I wonder while he was reaching for those dreams if he imagined himself out here with a girl like me? I girl who was so nervous when he first came to visit her on the ranch that while attempting to get on her sorrel horse she jumped right on over the horse’s bare back and landed in a heap on the other side. A girl who showed him all of her favorite places in the coulees, hoping he was the right one to show them to. 

A girl who wrote songs about him, got her heart broke by him only to live through it and start again…

a girl who never planned on being married at all…who was content, really, with being alone out here, thank you very much…but who is so grateful now that she isn’t.

So yes, this man has been on this earth 29 years and although I may have missed some of the best memories he holds, I am content knowing that I was there for some of them and will be there for more to come.  29 years and in his lifetime he may not have climbed the biggest mountains like he planned, shot the biggest deer, learned to ride eight seconds on a bucking bull, won the nation on the wrestling mat…

But he has changed the world. Because simply by living an authentic life he has helped me tackle mine with more confidence and conquerable force, by loving this land with passion and a capable energy  he has provided my family with trust and support, and by holding true to that spirit that he has been filling up with experiences, good things, difficult things, true things, he becomes more capable, more himself, more of the man he wanted to be every day.

And I am just so damn happy that he grabbed my hand when he did so I could be there to watch him become the man I’ve loved all along…

Happy Birthday Cowboy…to the moon and back…


18 thoughts on “This is 29…

  1. Lovely! And we love you too, Husband!! So glad you dragged him into this crazy family, Jess. There aren’t too many men on this earth who would so patiently tolerate your crazy antics (ahem, icewaterpants), but I am very glad that he does, and with such grace, humor, and charm to boot! Happy Bday!

    • Shanna, I have no idea what you are talking about…icewaterpants? That most certainly wasn’t me. I would never do such a thing to poor, perfect hubby 🙂 Thanks for being a fabulous host this past weekend. We always have such a great time with all of you and your crazy cute kids. Love you!

  2. Because simply by living an authentic life he has helped me tackle mine with more confidence and conquerable force…..that is what a true partnership is all about Jess. The two of you-the ying and the yang-each have a strength that lifts up each other in a way no one but the two of you can ever understand…..Rich.

  3. So lovely. Not many of us have had the pleasure of knowing our spouses as long as you have known yours, yet you wish to have known him more…very sweet! That first picture is just gorgeous…all masculine and mysterious… a definite framer.

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