Little did I know that on this day forty-nine years ago a baby boy was born who would grow up to make me happy everyday. Yeah, I was only three so I did not know much. It took me a few years to recognize Russ Lange as the quality human he is, but once I did I knew I had to spend my life with him.
I owe Russ’ parents a big thank you for raising such a genuine, kind, brilliant, hard working, loving man. I owe Russ a lifetime of devotion because he makes all things good for Carter and me. Really devotion is not a strong enough word to describe my love and affection for my husband. But the word does not exist in English to convey how much I cherish him.
So on his birthday, a day he would act is like any normal day, I want to send out to the universe this message, “Russ Lange rocks!” October second is not just a regular day; it is the day that God made me smile. Like me, you might not notice his super powers at first because of his quiet steadfast demeanor. Perhaps that is because he lives in an air space above most of our heads. But if you are ever lucky enough to be invited to visit the place Russ exists in you will discover new possibilities about the world and yourself. Not everyone gets that invitation. I’m just glad that I did and I did not miss the big party that became my life living with him.
Anybody who knows me knows my father. See even if you never met him you have encountered him in some way in me. I am truly a product of my father. Of course my mother can be seen in me too, in my love of games, my artistic side and devotion to needlepoint, but most of the rest of me comes from my father. My love of cooking, my story telling nature, my sense of humor, my loud voice and imposing presence along with about nine hundred and fifty other traits including the tendency to exaggerate comes from my father.
On this father’s day I want to say thank you to Ed Carter for being such a great supporter, cheerleader, role model and overall generous soul to me. Although he pushed me all the time to be better, do more, try harder he also gave me options and advantages for which I am truly thankful. My dad always thought I could do anything. I am sure that is how I developed my “Not always correct, but never in doubt” personality.
As a child he never missed an opportunity to teach me something that he thought I would need to know even if I wasn’t interested. I might not have been interested then, but now I am glad I know how to take care of my house, earn money, grow a garden, cook anything, travel the world alone, be generous with others, talk to strangers so they quickly become friends, tip generously, nurture employees, spoil friends, love family and most importantly raise a daughter.
Thanks Dad for being a great dad. Because of you I picked a wonderful husband who became a great Dad to our child. Father’s day is not the only day I think about how important fathers are, but don’t let a day go by without knowing that I am surrounded by men who are father’s I love, my own and my daughters.
It was a sunny Saturday in Washington, DC twenty-one years ago today when Russ took the crazy step to marry me. I knew I was more than lucky to have recognized what a kind, smart, generous and funny guy he was, but mostly that he was willing to go out on a big limb and commit himself to life with me. We had no idea then where we would go, but we knew we would be going together.
We devoted to each other, just as ourselves. When the minster asked Russ if he would take me as his wife he answered in his quiet, steadfast way, “I will” and maybe our families in the front row could hear him. When it was my turn to answer the same question, the Georgetown tourists walking outside the church probably could hear my “I WILL”. Despite the obvious differences in our demeanors and volume, underneath something about our makeup works well together.
Certainly there were kinks to be worked out. When I first met Russ he only owned three shirts he wore to work. That meant that he was wearing one shirt, washing one shirt and drying one shirt at all times. To top it off Russ only ironed the collar, cuffs and just enough of the center button plackets that showed with a suit coat on. I only realized this when, one day, he took his jacket off and inadvertently revealed the wrinkles on the majority of his shirt.
The shirt rotation seriously ate into available time to be together. So for Russ’ first birthday after we got engaged I bought him ten new shirts and introduced him to the Chinese Laundry down the street from his house. That one act profoundly changed his life. Last month Russ was cleaning out his closet and held up one of the original shirts from that birthday and asked me what he should do with the now sleeve-ripped-collar-worn green striped shirt. Sadly, I told him he needed to throw it away. “I love this shirt, “ he said with a sigh.
It took me a little longer to recognize that Russ is almost always right when it comes to remembering things. This is hard for person like me with the “Not always correct, but never in doubt” personality. Once I finally came to accept his wisdom trumps mine things have been much easier. It was never really very hard because Russ has the “I know I’m right, but I don’t have to tell you” personality. I can only imagine that Job also had that same trait.
Not all things in life are as easy to solve as the shirt problem, but we rarely do much without laughter and I think that is the key to twenty-one pretty wonderful years. Today, on this anniversary I want to publicly tell the world that I have the best husband, for me. Russ, thank you for all that you are, all that you do and all that you are going to do. I think there is a load of laundry in the dryer that needs to come upstairs, please.
Today is my husband’s birthday. So if you know him and see him somewhere wish him a happy birthday. Now I can’t promise that he will know you, at least he might not know your name although he is getting fairly good at pretending he knows your face.
Once he came home from the grocery store and was quite excited to tell me that he had seen my friend Jean at the Harris Teeter and told me he said “Hi” to her. I was so proud of him, not only because he recognized Jean who had just had us to her lake house, but also because he actually spoke to her. My pride bubble was quickly burst when the phone rang two minutes later and my friend Carol said, “I just saw Russ at the grocery store and he called me Jean.”
Please don’t be offended that I did not invite you to a big birthday party for Russ. His idea of a great birthday is to have two other guys come over to our house, each with their own reading material. They go into separate rooms and read for a while and at some point gather in the kitchen to get a drink, tell each other something interesting that they read and go back to their own rooms.
We are not even celebrating that way this year since Russ has a work meeting and dinner tonight. At least he will have a meal he enjoys without any guilt that I cannot share in the same fattening goodies. For his home celebration Carter is making him his favorite apple pie and I will have some baked apples in solidarity.
So I would like to raise a virtual glass to my wonderful husband who makes everyday with him a joy. His constant support and promotion of me is unmatched. I wish that I were half as good a wife as he is a husband and father. Happy Birthday Russ Lange, you are the best!