Back when I was still flying back and forth from the island to visit him in Tampa, he asked me to be his girlfriend at a Halloween party. He knew that if he didn't pick some sort of holiday, he'd always forget our anniversary. So Halloween became our holiday and when we finally got married, we decided to keep it. And no, it wasn't a Halloween wedding (I don't think his parents would have been too thrilled with that...haha):
If you don't like mush-fests, stop reading now: this is going to be a mush-fest.
When I moved in with Charles, I left behind my horses, my family and a pretty solid career working in exhibit design at one of the best art museums in PR. He knew what I was giving up for him, and during every minute of our relationship, he has been supportive beyond measure of everything I do.
When I left my first job in Tampa as a gym sales associate and applied at a tack store in the same plaza, he was supportive, even though I'd be making half of the money. I would end up getting that job, one of my favorite jobs ever, indirectly thanks to Charles. At the time, Charles was working in film. The producer of the last film Charles worked on had a daughter. The producer's daughter worked at the tack shop I applied to.
When I got the job training crazy horses at the horse rental facility, Charles was 100% supportive. Even though I was driving an hour and a half one way to go work. Even when one of the horses flipped over on me and nearly crushed my hip. He helped me up the stairs at home and drove me around while I healed, and has massaged my back whenever I have flare-ups of pain from that old injury. He was as bummed as I was when I had to quit that job because I physically wasn't going to be able to ride for awhile.
When I finally had the guts to start riding again, he backed me up. He came to watch me ride. He learned the names of the horses and hung out with my barn friends. We went to a steeplechase with the barn and had our own little photography competition. He won:
|He took this photo with my non-digital SLR.|
He let me go visit Lucero every day on our first vacation together in Puerto Rico.
|He even rode Lucero. Bareback. Because he knew Lucero was the one being other than Charles himself that I loved most in the world.|
|Our last good-bye|
He was thrilled for me when I discovered the equine rescue and started volunteering. He came to every fundraiser the rescue held while I was volunteering and helped me with my chores. He came to watch me ride the rescues. And he backed me up when I decided I wanted to adopt Cloud.
He mucked Cloud's stall on days that I was stuck at work and couldn't make it out before the barn closed. He learned how much hay went into his haynets. He soaked beet pulp. He drove to the barn one time first thing in the morning after work to check on my horse because I was worried that Cloud had not pooped in 12 hours.
|He took this photo...|
|...and this one. Forever capturing the love I had for that horse.|
He encouraged me to not give up on horses forever after that, because he could not imagine me without horses in my life.
He knew they made me happy.
The day Rhythm had a seizure during a ride and fell with me on him, breaking my foot, Charles came out to the barn immediately to check on me and help me with the neuro exam I did on the horse. Lily wasn't mine yet, but she was my training project and I was supposed to work with her that afternoon. My foot hurt, but we didn't know it was broken yet. I was fairly hysterical and didn't want to go home. Charles was the one who suggested maybe I should take Lily for a ride anyway; he knew it would make me feel better. It was a holiday and the vet couldn't come out anyway. Other than having something neurologically wrong with him, Rhythm was fine.
So I tacked up Lily and took her down to the field at the end of the street for her first time off property ever, and she proved herself to be an absolutely sane, brave little mare. That ride wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for Charles's encouragement, and if I hadn't had that ride, I'm not sure I would have said yes when Lily was offered to me.
The day Lily was offered to me, he scrambled to produce the dollar with which I would buy her, just so he could say that he'd bought me a horse for my birthday.
He only ever missed the one show. He has been there for every other. He's been there every time we've trailered for an adventure off property. He's helped with every barn move. He's driven the truck towing the trailer when no one else was available. Twice. Not only that, he can get that hitch lined up on the first try. He's been there for all of the big moments, and the not so big ones, usually playing the role of the person behind the camera, capturing those moments.
He's never complained when the horses have taken time away from him, so I always make a point of making time for him when our days off coincide. He's never complained when the stuff I want for special occasions (birthdays, Christmas, etc) are expensive because it's horse-related stuff.
He happily offered to go with me across DC and MD our first day after arriving in the Northeast so I could go see Lily, since I hadn't seen her in a week. Despite the fact that Hurricane Sandy would be arriving that night and we still had to shop for groceries!
He's been there at every moment, and he's in 99% of the photos of me in this blog: it's him on the other side of the camera.
|Hanging out with my barn friends. All of them adored him!|
|Holding Q so I could wrap her legs.|
|Trail ride at one of the South FL parks.|
|He helped me the first time I rode Rhythm in the water.|
I'd always wanted to take a horse swimming!
|He rode Rhythm bareback in the lake himself!|
|And babysat him after.|
|He's not against sharing lunch with a horse.|
|Nor is he above showing my silly mare that cows don't eat horses.|
(He was riding Beau, Mark's QH gelding)
He insisted on being the one to do the hand walking when he'd come out to the barn with me while Lily was on stall rest.
|And he'll even freeze his butt off to go camping with me, my friends, and their horses.|
I'm the luckiest girl alive to call him mine. I have loved him for 16 years. Today marks 8 years together, 4 of those married.
I love you with all my heart and soul Charles! Happy anniversary!