When I met Ben over 10 years ago, I knew he was different. He was was special. To me. In so many ways.
He told me these ridiculous, Dad-level jokes that made me laugh. He left me a message on my voicemail about a mushroom being a fun guy that I saved on there, and listened to regularly, until my phone provider switched systems and it got erased. Which, for the record, was more recent than I’m willing to admit.
He was as obsessive about nutrition, training, and being “outdoorsy” as I was. And, made me feel like it was healthy to be that consumed by it…not like something was wrong with me, like most other people did.
For being as regimented and structured as he was, he was equally as breezy and up for anything. I had never seen someone strike that virtually impossible balance of being laser-like driven like Bill Belichick with uber-laid back like Kenny Chesney. Which I guess, basically, makes him Tom Brady. Just way better looking. And, not as good at football.
I thought he knew it all, had all the answers, and was the model for how I should live my life straight across the board.
What I’ve come to learn and love, though, about this man is that as every year passes, he himself convinces me and everyone around him that he doesn’t.
He doesn’t know it all. He doesn’t have all the answers. And, he’s learning at the same rate as me that we are doing a lot of things wrong…and, we have a lot to learn about how we want to live our lives.
Every year, he’s teaching me to embrace the fact that we can’t make fewer mistakes if we’re not willing to accept that we are, in fact, making all sorts of mistakes already.
Ben has taught all of us, me…our kids and parents…his athletes…the CFNE staff…his best friends, that there is nothing more valuable to your development as a person than experiencing set backs and unexpected turns in the road.
I never planned on getting divorced from my first husband. I never expected to have miscarriages. I never wanted to miss qualifying for the Games two years ago.
While these are all just a few of a list of thousands of things that have stopped my “plan” in it’s tracks, they’re all things that have made me the person I am today: the wife, the mother, the friend, the daughter, the athlete. I could’ve let all of these things make me bitter and have a negative view of the world, but lucky for me I’ve had Ben by my side to show me how all of these things are actually the best things that ever could have happened to me.
If Alex and I hadn’t gotten divorced, we both wouldn’t have ended up with our soul mates, which I truly believe we both have. If I hadn’t had miscarriages, I wouldn’t have the 4 babies of mine that I did end up with. And, if I had qualified for the Games two years ago, I wouldn’t have had the extra time and energy to put into raising our kids the way I have and building memories that I wouldn’t trade for a trip to Madison in a million years.
Today on Ben’s 42nd birthday, I celebrate all of this. All of him. And, thank God for the day that he came into my life and has slowly but surely convinced me of just how good all of the bad can be.
If you can just be ok with knowing how much you don’t know.
Happy Birthday, Ben. I love you more every year.