Today is Rhondi’s birthday. To try and sum up what I feel for her in one thousand words seems way harder than writing a best seller, so I’ll just share a little about us and what makes me love her. In short, she’s the best person I have ever met… but so much more.
At first, I didn’t know what to think of her. Like many people these days, our first interactions with each other were online. We were part of the AzPunk.com community and we would comment on each other’s posts from time to time. She was also booking my bands, too, for shows she put on at Jugheads on McDowell in Phoenix. She and my drummer, Shane, knew each other and she was supporting my bands way before we ever met in person.
I was intrigued by what this Bizzo (her screen name) would say. Eventually we chatted a bit and she invited me to a party at her house. I was in a terrible spot, emotionally, at the time and I didn’t go. It is probably for the best. I would have been no good to her at all at that point. Hell, even when we finally did meet in person, I really wasn’t ready yet.
Because I am Captain Obvious, I will write: We did meet though.
You know we did. We met at the aforementioned Jugheads on St. Patrick’s Day 2005. We had North Side Kings practice earlier that night and my bandmate, Luke, had ridden with me from Ahwatukee to go to practice. I talked him into stopping at Jugheads for a drink and let him know I was there to meet a lady.
Phoenix is a big, small town, so it is bizarre to me that I hadn’t really noticed her before. The reason I say this is because when I saw her, the wind got knocked out of me. I found her to be stunning. Her smile immediately dismantled any doubts I had about meeting her and even though I was in a bad place to be meeting someone new, I fell for her right away.
We talked and laughed and had some Irish Car Bombs. After a reasonable amount of time, we were making out at the bar. I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it. I was smitten. I was floored by how good of a kisser she was (and still is) and I was hooked.
This is not the time or the place to go into the details of my living situation at the time, but it presented challenges. She hung in there and we got through them with the love that was growing inside us. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with her, yet I also wanted to go slow and not make any of the same mistakes I had made in the past.
Over those first several months, I fell in love with her.
Rhondi is the first person in my life who figured out how to call me on my shit without having to destroy me in order to do so. She’s also the first person who has consistently loved me unconditionally outside of my core group of friends and maybe my grandparents. She steadies me when I am trembling and picks me up when I am down.
At this moment I am thinking of that scene in Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams’ character, Sean, is telling Will (Matt Damon) about his deceased wife and talking about the little things about her that only he knew. Now, I’m not dumb enough to share these on her birthday, but I will say that life with Rhondi is never dull and only gets better and better.
I will share that she is the most goal-oriented person I’ve ever known. Her goals have goals. Being a natural Devil’s advocate, this causes problems for us, but not terrible ones by any stretch of the imagination. She’s helped me learn to see a different picture than the one in my mind and appreciate how much she excels at making things beautiful.
Speaking of that, the artistic gifts she has been bestowed make any little piece of talent I possess pale in comparison. Most of you have probably seen her work, but if you haven’t, I hope you get to see it one day soon. She’s got skills. If I could just sell a million records or someday sell a million books, I’d tell her that her job is now just to do art. I am more than proud of her. I am a fan.
One little peccadillo that I will share is that she celebrates her birthday for a week. This has always entertained me. I don’t let on, but I gladly celebrate her birth as well. I celebrate it each day. If she reads this, she’ll know it now, too. I don’t mind that it’s really more like two weeks on the calendar. The week before and after are fair game, in her eyes.
There is so much more to our story. I love that it keeps evolving, too. We’ve been through so much together at this point that I can’t possibly imagine a life or time without her. People who have been married for awhile can probably understand this feeling. It just feels like she and I have always been she and I.
If Rhondi is a friend of yours or family, take a moment this week and let her know you appreciate her. It would mean the world to her (and me) and it’s really the best gift we can give anyone. I wish more people knew how amazing my wife is and not just because she’s beautiful and smart and funny and organized and thoughtful and giving and loves her furry friends. I wish they knew how much she truly cares and worries and reaches into her soul for the people she loves.
I am a lucky man. Thank you, my love. Happy birthday.
See you tomorrow.