We met in a tiny town in the middle of the Catskill Mountains. There was an outdoor pool at the top of a hill, and we both showed up for lifeguard training. It had technically just turned summer, but the early morning mountain air was still plenty cold as we jumped in. We arrived that day as strangers. Strangers about to spend the summer together as camp counselors. About to fall in love. About to write a brand new story–as us.
We’ve been writing that story every day since. It includes three states, six homes, one best dog ever, four children who are super loud and super lovable, and all the good stuff written between the lines.
Last week, this guy of mine was sporting a new bracelet cuff engraved with geographical coordinates. He leaned over and asked, “Can you guess what the coordinates are?”
Without skipping a beat I replied, “The mountain pool.”
And it was. Because of course it was. It’s who this guy is.
He’s all in when it comes to us. He loves our story.
And he holds it up in the way he loves me every day. In the little things like having coffee ready each morning in my favorite mug, to the big things like being in my corner cheering the loudest, always.
He’s a good man. And he wears it all on his sleeve.
Not in a showy way.
But it’s right there in clear view. Because it’s woven into everything he does.
My eyes found their way to his wrist, lingering over the coordinates that tell the beginning of a story that only we truly know.
And as I gazed, I realized how much of his heart is right there . . . on his sleeve.
There’s the friendship bracelet our daughter made him for Father’s Day. The one he proudly put right on as her eyes lit up with pride. And it’s exactly who he is—the absolute greatest dad there ever was. He’s the man who will do anything and everything for his children. He’s the man who delights in being a father. He’s the man who can rock a baby with the most beautiful natural tenderness. He’s the man who guides and nurtures and leads our now big kids. He’s the man who stays calm and steady in any of parenting’s trials. He’s the man who wears his fatherhood gratefully and lovingly.
There’s the leather cuff with the word “SONDER” on it that he made himself. Sonder means the realization that everyone you encounter has their own vivid and complex story. It’s a decision he’s made to live with awareness and respect for each person’s perspective. And you can see it in the way he’s thoughtful with his words. The way he looks for the under layers that fuel a situation. The way he’s motivated to give and serve. The way he just shows up, filling a need—and usually before ever being asked.
There’s the band that bears the words of a Japanese proverb, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” Because he’s the man who never gives up. He’s determined. He’s persistent. He’s problem-solving. He’s patient. He’s hard-working. He’s reliable. He’s the one everyone counts on. He’s steady and strong.
There’s the one with the word “love” pounded into a circle.
The family made these a couple of years ago on my birthday, and he hasn’t been without his since. It speaks of his love of family. His love of God. The way he loves. And that the driving, unending force within him is love.
It’s all there. Exactly who he is. Right on his wrist.
And hey, kids, if you’re listening, someday I pray you find a special someone to have and to hold . . .
Look for the one who never makes you question where you stand.
Look for the one whose goodness is just there in plain sight because it’s woven into all the little and big they do.
Look for the one who wears their heart on their sleeve.
Originally published on the author’s Facebook page