Happy birthday

Dear Matt,

Last year was nobody’s favorite year.  Not yours, not mine, not Grace’s, and not Whit’s.  A host of things were challenging, but none more than your injury.  At the end of August, you tore two of your hamstring tendons and wound up in surgery.  It was a stressful and scary week while we figured out what to do, but finally we connected with an excellent doctor and the path forward felt clear.  You spent almost two months this fall sleeping in our living room, recovering slowly from an injury that was described to me by your doctor as the “worst in sports medicine.”  As I’ve told you, when he came out to talk to me after your surgery was complete, he said, ruefully, I’m not going to lie to you, you wish it was his Achilles or his ACL.  It wasn’t.

And yet.  Your character shone in those months. It feels strange to say this but in a way I’m nostalgic for the fall.  It was an intense time – both kids preparing for standardized tests and applying to new schools, my busy season at work, you flat on your back in the living room.  But somehow life was distilled, too, down to what mattered.  I’ll never forget the Labor Day visit from two of my oldest and dearest friends, and the warmth I felt as we all sat around the living room and laughed, eating cheese. It was an evening I will always remember as incredibly special. You were one of the first boyfriends and then husbands to enter the scene of my college friends, who remain largely the most important people in my life. Your relationships to and with them is a source of true joy for me, and I remembered it over and over again this past fall.

Your attitude was excellent.  You steadfastly refused to let me have Comcast install a television in the living room, a decision that surprised me as much as it impressed me.  You read books.  You were positive, resolute, and focused on your physical therapy and gradual improvement.  We would go for slow walks up our (short) street, which took 20 minutes round trip. You were loving and proactive with helping me as much as you could.  I know I wasn’t always a picnic to be around, and I’m sorry about that. Beyond your injury there were actually a lot of other things that contributed stress to our lives.  I’ll just say that in the last part of 2016, a lot went wrong.  But something essential went right, too: I learned a lot about who you are this fall, and I won’t forget it.

We are heading into a new season of our lives now, as Grace heads out of the house, and you know I’m anxious and emotional about it. Still, this past fall taught me there’s nothing we cannot endure together. I look forward to many years ahead, on crutches or on foot (hopefully the latter), and thank you for being the best, most patient partner I can imagine on life’s surprising, beautiful, startling roads.

Happy birthday, Matt.

I love you,


I have written to Matt on his birthday for many years now (and it’s one of the only times of the year I write about him!)

2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

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  1. Gale
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I’ve often heard the adage that struggle doesn’t determine character, it reveals it. And it sounds like your entire family is flush with strong character. I’m glad the trials of 2016 are behind you, and that you seem to have emerged into grassier terrain for now. Happy birthday to Matt

    PS – Is Grace going to boarding school?

  2. Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Happy birthday to Matt, and what a great post, Lindsey. Your character shines through, too. xo

  3. Connie
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    As always, beautifully written. What I love most is the purity of the message. Your love for each other shines through and inspires. ❤️

  4. Debbie
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday, Matt and I’m so happy to read about your strength and love for each other! Grace leaving? Whit to MS?

  5. Salky
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Matt and many more!! Love

  6. Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    i love these posts. And I totally remember the injury last year!

  7. Posted May 29, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I hope he had a good birthday! I also hope this year will be a good year for all of you!

  8. Posted May 29, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Aww. The love between you is beautiful.