After being gone for an overnight visit, I was greeted with an empty sink and a strainer full of clean dishes.

He purged my kitchen of the fly infestation that was causing my tenuous sanity to slip…and slip…and slip.

His first words to me when I walked through the door were, “You bought new shoes. And you have blue toes.” Then he kissed me and carried the 40-pounder upstairs and put her to bed.

There was no further mention of the new shoes. Somehow, he understood the weakness associated with a new pair of comfortable flip flops for his pregnant wife. (Or perhaps he recognized the inevitability of it…)

The living room…swept, picked up, cleaned better than it has been in an embarrassingly long time. The husband…humble enough to give the dog credit for the amazing housework done in my absence.

As his hand is on my lurching belly, full of an acrobat fairy princess, he will smile at me with tears in his eyes and send me “I love you” signals that make me feel like a princess.

Every morning, a note in the bathroom. For me. From him.

He still says thank you when I pack his lunch in the morning. And then he kisses me. (Few better payments, say I!)

Never a complaint about housework (or lack of), dinner (or lack of), or anything else in my domain.

When the Little Bear (aka Toddler-tron) threw a fit before bath time last night, his creative solution (which I would have never proposed) left us all smiling, laughing, and shaking (the dog especially). (The dog took a bath with her. And I was at a point where it didn’t matter. Three days, no bath, large smell – something had to be done!)

He finds out why my car doesn’t “feel right” without ever making fun of me for not being able to explain it better than that.

He doesn’t shoot the dog. But he offers to. Every single day.

He will wade through the planted-too-closely-together-by-my-rookie-mistake plants in the garden and harvest all the juicy veggies as I stand off to the side planting and asking and oohing. And he will never ask my to get down on my knees in the dirt or get close to the poky plants in my new flip flops.

When I have a crazy idea, he won’t call it that (right away). But when he does, he’ll make me laugh about it.

When dinner looms ahead on a day we’ve been vegging and napping and basking in each other’s company, he will not hesitate when he suggests we go for pizza. And he will suggest a kind of pizza that we can eat there.

He’s my number one fan. (Which is saying something, because my dad has had claims on that spot for years!)

His dreaded worst day: “giving my fairy princess away to some jerk.” But his best day? Well, I didn’t ask, but I suspect I know from the way he was holding her when he said it.

When I go away for the weekend, he misses me…so much that he will call me to talk to me right after I’ve left. And then, despite hating phone calls, he will talk to me all the way home and for hours after I’ve gotten home.

…To be continued through the years…