Sunday, March 05, 2006
Happy Birthday Stephietoo!
(This isn't the best pic of the kids, but when I found it on John's computer, I thought it really summed up the family, giving, and spirit of Steph)
When I first met Steph, John and I were just beginning our relationship. Her husband was a pal of John's and client at his stereo business. I immediately thought Stephie was sweet, pretty and very nice, but certainly I had no idea how much she would become a part of our life. We didn't keep that close of touch after we got married - however, two things stood out during that time. Travis was one of the last hold-outs to want Riles Audio to stay open (something that I did NOT want, so it was kind of funny), and Steph was an employee at Rosen, the company that hired John when he decided to close down Riles Audio. Occasionally, I would see Steph up front at Rosen, smiling beautifully as I came to see John, but that was about the extent of our contact.
Then, we had Brayden.... I remember receiving the most thoughtful gifts from them - a gorgeous Noah's Ark snow globe for Brayden's themed room and wonderful "spa style" products for me. Wow. Then, soon after his birth, Travis showed up at our house- and John and him rekindled their friendship. It's hard to remember just how things progressed, but all of a sudden we began to realize that activities and evenings just somehow became better if Travis and Stephie were over.
Steph and I individually became closer too. We attended a womens' conference together and completely bonded spiritually, and I had the incredible honor of becoming her matron of honor in her wedding (not to mention crashing her honeymoon - but that's a whole different story itself!).
As time has gone on, our feelings towards the Whites have gone from close friends to "adopted family". Our kids have such an amazing relationship with them, they are practically their second parents, though you would be hard-pressed to get Travis to admit that...
Since this is Steph's birthday, I want to let her know how amazing I think she is. The unlimited love she gives to our family has saved my sanity on countless nights when she takes over as mom and I thankfully rest. She is giving beyond belief, to the extent that the kids know if presents are coming from Travis or Stephie, they are going to be awesome. I know they are going to be "overboard", but who doesn't love incredible presents themselves? Steph is a rare find in that I never need to worry if a week has gone by and we haven't talked that things are okay with us - in fact, some of our best memories are evenings we've spent together not talking at all, but just reading magazines together watching football games - and being COZY! But, when we do talk, there is unconditional acceptance, a listening heart that never condemns, and a wisdom that only a fool would not follow. There is nothing she wouldn't drop everything to do for me - when John was in the hospital and we feared the worst their support and presence proved that immensely. I find myself trying to come up with all these adjectives, that fit perfectly, but nothing summarizes better than re-iterating that time is always sweeter when spent with Stephie.
I love you so much, friend - and hope your day is as incredible as you are!