Hive, I got myself a master's degree today, and I'm pretty pumped about it. But this post is not about me. It's about Mr. Octopus.
This year, I had the chance to pause my career and throw myself into an education that was incredibly challenging and immensely rewarding--a fulfillment of a dream, really--and I never, ever, ever could have done it without my fiance's unconditional and fully-enthusiastic support.
I learned or re-confirmed a lot of things about my future husband in the past nine months. Mr. Octopus is the kind of man who:
* Willingly took two jobs, usually working around sixty hours a week, including waiting tables until midnight when he had to be at the television station at 4 AM the next morning, in order to be the sole provider of the household.
* Often volunteered to wake up several hours earlier than necessary in order to drive me 35 minutes one way to my internship way over on the other end of Boston, for no other reason than to spend a little extra time with me, and because I didn't like taking the T. And sometimes, if he had the day off, came and picked me up at the end of my internship day too, usually bringing me a little treat, a cookie or a cup of tea or some other thoughtful thing.
* Is a natural-born slob, but has been making a very conscious effort to take an equal share of household responsibilities, including doing dishes, making dinners, doing laundry, and running errands, without complaint.
* Sacrificed a lot of his favorite creature comforts--cable TV, trying different restaurants and bars, new video games and comic books, weekend road trips--for an entire year, with no fuss, because it was all we could do to make ends meet on his income.
* Ran--I'm talking about fully sprinted--home from his break at the restaurant where he works, in Boston's 90-degree heat, in order to be on time to attend a series of graduation speeches with me yesterday. And sat next to me, beet-red and sweating, and said nothing but "I'm so glad to be here! I'm just so proud of you!" And then went back to the restaurant for five more hours of work.
I am marrying a man who continually humbles me with the depths of his generosity, and who is selfless in a way that I can only hope to mature into eventually. I am marrying a man who has the kindest heart of anyone I've ever met. I am marrying a man who does everything with the best of intentions, who always makes every possible effort to make other people happy, who prioritizes me and our relationship above all else. I am marrying a man who handled a lot of very tough things this year with good humor, optimism, and grace. I am marrying a man who is the best, most loyal, most constant friend I've ever had. I am marrying a man who will, one day, be the gentlest, most loving father I can imagine.
I could not be luckier and I could not be prouder. Mr. Octopus, everything I managed to do this year was only possible because of you. You are the sunshine of my life. I love, love, love, love you.
Planning our wedding is fun and exciting, don't get me wrong. But it's the marriage--the part where I get to spend the rest of my life alongside this amazing person--that's the really good stuff.