September 22, 2000.  It would be the first birthday Tony and I would spend together.  We met at the end of May in 2000.  About a month into our relationship, he was living at my house during the week, we’d go pick up his son on Friday and spend the weekend at his house. 

I’ll still never forget my step-son Joe’s face when he looked at me, biting his finger nails wondering who the hell this woman was with his Dad.  It couldn’t have been easy.  Clearly his Mom and Dad weren’t getting back together and here was this woman, with a daughter to boot, entering his Dad’s life.

I remember Tony’s 40th birthday like it was yesterday!  His parents had recently relocated to Florida, their house was for sale.  Tony was staying at his folks house while it was on the market.

My plan was for Tony to have a day of relaxation!  I had hired a masseuse to come to his parents house to give him an hour long massage.  I planned to make him a nice home cooked meal.  We were just going to go with the flow and have a relaxing day.   What we didn’t know was that his parents were coming home for the weekend to surprise him for his birthday.  Surprised smile

No worries, they planned to do things during the day so my plans didn’t change.  That is until about an hour after his relaxing massage, the weather got super nasty and it rained buckets.  His parents house was set down on a hill and before we knew it, bucket of water were flooding the kitchen! 

He went from being totally relaxed and warm to the next minute scooping buckets of ice cold water out the back door!  We probably spent close to an hour cleaning up the kitchen. 

But then he got a phone call from one of his friends to meet up for drinks!  Yes!  We changes our clothes and headed out.  We were starting to have a nice time when all of a sudden his friend said “yeah, I was here with some buddies, but I need a ride to pick up my car at the shop.”  He asked Tony if he minded giving him a lift to the repair shop. 

Being the great friend he was, he did.  He left me at the bar for nearly an hour until he got there and back.  We were at a hotel bar and it was then and there that we decided to just chuck our home cooked meal and just get a room.  We ordered a pizza, watched movies – and in the end it was a relaxing day!

Hannah was staying with my Mom that day.  My Mom’s birthday is the day after Tony’s so while it was Tony’s 40th birthday it was my Mom’s 60th birthday and my brother and his family were in town to celebrate it!

I ended up parting ways with Tony – he to spend time with his parents and me to spend time with my family.  I remember walking into the house and my Mom asking where I had spent the night.  I said “at a hotel with Tony.”  She gave me this look and said “you never told me you were spending the night with him!”  I had to laugh because people, I was 32 years old at this point! 

But through the years, our families have gotten to know each other.  I love my MIL and FIL and my SIL and my nephews, and my Mom is always welcome in our home – I love having her over and cooking for her.

So as we go into our 12th birthday celebration together Tony, I want to thank you for picking me online from all the girls that you had to choose from.  You know we never would have met otherwise.  Through the peaks and valleys that our lives have been through, there isn’t a single person I’d rather ride this roller coaster with! 

You get me.  You know that when I call you on Friday afternoons and ask “what do you feel like for dinner?”  You know secretly that I hope you’ll offer up the idea of pizza.   Pizza

And that even though I forget 90% of the time to refill the toilet paper, you just shrug your head and replace it yourself.

And that I never put anything back in the same way twice, you know why I always help prep the kitchen for you when you cook for me, because I know where I last put the skillet and the whisk.

And that even though I think of food all day, watch FoodTV whenever I can and read cooking magazines while you watch football, you’ll always watch a TopChef Master with me and other cooking shows, because you know it makes me happy.

Thank you for being my best friend!  I love you and hope you have a wonderful birthday! Open-mouthed smile  And before you know it, we’ll be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary!