Like the Disney reference in the title? It’s from one of my favorite movies, Beauty and the Beast. Andrew’s birthday is this Saturday (Oct. 19th), and I am surprising him with little gifts every day this week, leading up to his big gift on Saturday. Since today is the first day of the week I’ve decided to let this post serve as today’s “surprise gift.”
For our new readers, be sure to read about Andrew’s accident here. His accident happened less than 4 months ago and you’ll need to read it to be able to understand what I’m sharing today.
He doesn’t look like the same man today:
His many doctors told us he wouldn’t be “normal” until Christmas, and that normal for him wouldn’t be what normal was before the accident. This photo was taken last week, after completing our longest distance race-runDisney’s Tower of Terror 10 Miler. If you look at him, he looks even better than he did before his wreck. He can run farther distances, he still places in all of his races and he has become an excellent swimmer. Many people, including friends and family, treat Andy as if he were never injured. We are both relieved that he isn’t treated as if he were made of delicate glass, however no one sees what we see. That’s what I’m sharing today, in hopes that we all remember that there is something in people that we might not see. We might not know their story, their struggles, their disappointments. I’ve learned through his accident to cheer on the runner that finishes last, and to only compete with myself. I don’t know the story of that runner, they may be accomplishing a huge goal for themselves even though to others they are the slowest runner. We are so grateful for the blessings that God continues to give us. I am lucky to have my husband, and I would not have believed you if you told me 3 months ago that he would have made it to see his 29th birthday.
So, what does the title have to do with my rambling? I want to share with you all what I see in my husband that you don’t see. I want him to know what I’ve seen over the past 4 months, when he thinks I’m not looking. I want to encourage you to be more aware of the people, friends, athletes, etc. around you. Even if they have a giant smile across their face, and a first place medal around their neck there may be something there you simply didn’t see.
I see the grimace on his face as he picks up our son, hauls his book bag across his back or reaches to grab something off of a tall shelf. I see him rub the scar on his chest that itches, the spot where he had a chest tube inserted 3 times. I see him stretch to relieve comfort in his ribs, the ribs that the doctors say will hurt for the rest of his life.
I feel his kicks in the middle of the night when his nerves act up. I feel him jump when he hears a loud noise. I feel him slam the breaks on my Jeep when he sees cars that aren’t close to us. I feel the discomfort in his body if I hug him too tight.
I hear the groans in his sleep. I hear his heavy breathing from his scarred lungs. I hear his frustration when he can’t perform at the gym like he could before. I hear his complaints of pain and fatigue. I hear the loud pop in his spine that rings out every time he sneezes. I hear his friends tell him they try to beat him at his best sport, while he is still in recovery and isn’t as fast as he was before the wreck.
I see a fighter. I see an absolute miracle. I see a man who hides his pain, even from me. I see a man who tries to be better than he was, and continues to prove doctors wrong. I see a man who competes with himself to set PR’s and goals that are faster and stronger than before his accident. I hear his words of gratitude for our great God, our family, and some good friends. I feel his hand hold mine tighter, and his love deeper. I see his passion for life and his desire to make every moment worth something. I hear his plans for the future, his dreams that he will make a reality. I see confidence, not arrogance in a man who was full of self-doubt.
I see the 16 year-old boy that I fell in love with as a teenager. I cry often with thoughts of that boy being taken from me clouding my head. Then I remember what I see in him. I think about the life I have with him and I am grateful that I have him to continue my life with. I see myself kneeling at his hospital bed and then I see myself in the present kneeling by our son’s bed, tucking him in at night.
It is hard to see his scar, his pain, his discomfort, his fears, his anxiety when before you he stands as a Christian man, loving husband and father, and an excelling athlete. But, I see what he goes through daily and that makes me love and appreciate him even more. He is so brave, and so strong. I love everything I see in you, Andrew. I see the miracle in you every day. Happy Birthday!