As I mentioned earlier this week, I threw Bray a surprise 40th birthday Saturday night. I have certain talents but one of them is not being crafty – I throw a great party but when it comes to crafts I leave that to my mom. However, I went out on a limb and created my first ever scrapbook for Bray to highlight his past 40 years. Included in the compilation were stories from family and friends about memories they had with Bray. The only one I am at liberty to share is my own. So here was my entry and ode to my wonderful husband:
I don’t know how to write just one memory of Bray. First, I’m a lawyer so I’m not always concise. Second, I’m a writer, so I could fill a book. Third, he’s the love of my life, so words really don’t do him justice. And since I’m compiling this little book, I may exercise a little leeway with myself (and use small font!).
My first memory of Bray is the night we met. I was at the Mucky Duck with friends and one of them tried to set me up with Charlie. Bray had come too and we ended up talking for hours, arguing might be more accurate, about drilling in ANWAR (showcasing our political differences early on) and the virtues or evils of lawyers (he called me the Texas Hammer all night). Regardless, at the end of the night (where I casually offered a business card no matter how he tells the story), I called my mom and said, “I’ve met this boy…..” Little did I know that he was no boy, but the amazing man that I would fall in love with despite everything that looked different about us on the outside. I first knew I was starting to fall in love with him on Valentine’s Day 2004 when over dinner he told me all the entertaining things he’d done while babysitting his nieces that day, and I remember thinking, “uh-oh, I’m in trouble.”
I still can’t believe that he proposed to me while we were in full costume after Halloween parties in 2005 – while that picture will haunt me for the rest of my life, the memory of him popping the question down on one knee in my living room will forever be one of my favorites. I remember how happy I was on my wedding day – not one jitter to be found. We’d had all the big debates and issues vetted in the 2 ½ years we dated, so there was no question in my mind this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I must have smiled bigger that day than I ever had as I floated down the aisle. He held my hands and rubbed the top of them all through the service – it’s like I can still feel that to this day. We made great fun memories traveling together, especially that first year – Maine, Hawaii, D.C., the Grand Canyon, Miami, Montreal…. He was a rock during all the disappointing times when we tried to start a family and could not. And then, after the initial shock started to dissipate, he was incredible during the 33 week pregnancy with the babies. I can see him painting their room and building their bookshelf so it would be exactly the right size. He was at all the ultrasound appointments and the morning we found out Baby C was a boy, he couldn’t stop grinning.
And then, likely our favorite memory, was October 2, 2010. After all the waiting and praying, God blessed us with three miracles. The day they were born, he raced up to the NICU with them while I was sewn up so that he could report directly what was going on instead of us having to hear it second-hand. There had been a debate about which boy would be Samuel and which would be William – Bray felt it should be the first born, and I felt we should meet them first to see their personalities. I remember Bray coming to post-op after leaving the babies to give the first account, and he was talking about them by name. And after a minute, I said, Hey wait, how do you know which one is which? And he said, Oops, I named them already – the sign is on their isolettes. Twelve hours later, when he was allowed to wheel me up to see the babies, I remember meeting them and thinking, “yep, he definitely has the right name.” He was so elated that day, smiling so broadly that everyone commented on it – he said later that night, “they are just perfect.” And they are.
B – Seven and a half years together and five years of marriage later, and I am so excited to be celebrating your 40th birthday with you and the kids. I still get goose bumps when you kiss me, admire your courage and honesty, and miss you when you go away. I love you more today than ever before, and I can’t wait to spend your next 40 years creating more memories together.
Gindi Vincent, Wife and Head Cheerleader for Team Bray