Happy Birthday To My Better Half…

It’s been a long and sometimes winding road with the little woman who has somehow managed to put up with me for all this time.

She’ll be a year older this week – December 7th.

I’m always thinking of her but today especially as I was working my way through some edits for Turn Point Massacre (#6 of the San Juan Islands Mystery series) and came across a little moment when the main character, Adele, nervously picks at some dry skin on her lip as she attempts to process information that’s possibly critical to her solving another mystery. You see, there is much of my wife in Adele — her kindness, her determination, her reflective nature, and her generous spirit. I am sometimes asked how, as a male writer, I am able to create such a believable female lead.

While some parts come from my deceased mother, a strong and complicated woman in her own right, as well as my experience as a father to a daughter, the majority of Adele’s essence is an extension of my wife. I’ve grown quite fond of Adele because I’ve always been more than fond of my lifelong partner. And it is my wife who is always first to review my stories and sometimes provide some gentle question or insight into the female mind that rings truer than I might create entirely on my own.

And she truly is my better half. Of that, I have no doubt.  Case in point. Just today I walked into her office to find her still on the phone with some software nitwits trying to work out an upload problem for a program she’s required to purchase annually at a cost of several thousands of dollars. If that was me I would have been apoplectic by then, wanting to reach through the phone to throttle the moron on the other end. Not my wife. Though clearly agitated, she remained patient and waiting while continuing to carefully attempt to work through the issue. It’s an attribute I know her many clients appreciate a great deal.

That’s strength – real strength. I’m more confrontational under duress because that’s easier. It takes far less effort. My wife somehow manages to absorb and process adversity in a way I never could.

I was made fully aware of this remarkable strength of hers during the birth of our first child. It was a very difficult labor and I was there by her side for most of it watching and waiting and marveling at how strong this physically diminutive little thing was. There were tubes going in and tubes going out as doctors and nurses hovered with their incessant poking and prodding. It left me awed and more determined than ever to be the kind of husband such a remarkable woman deserved.

That’s not to say we don’t have our disagreements and the peaks and inevitable valleys that accompany a long marriage. (Oh, we’ve had some doozies!) But at the end of the day, we remain there for one another in a way I have come to realize is sadly unique in a world where broken relationships are the tragic norm rather than the exception. People want what we have. I don’t say that to boast but to simply state fact. We are blessed.

There are still days when her smile, the gleam in her eyes, makes my heart beat a little faster. Or when she shares a remark that reflects a wonder and appreciation for the simple things that I find so endearing.

And reflecting on all of the above I was reminded of a song which she played often back when we were moving from young adults to parents. There is a bit of a resemblance between the singer, Natalie Merchant, and my wife, but more importantly a shared philosophy and spirit of joy. (Though, I should also add that they dance similarly as well. I still recall the first time I spied my wife dancing. I was with someone else at the time, looked over, admired the view, and was then determined to get to know her better. To her credit, she refused to go on a first date until I had broken it off with the other girl. Both beauty AND  moral character? It was a whole new world for the likes of me!)

Women are such amazing, powerful, enigmatic contradictions of creation.

I thank God I am allowed to spend my days with such an especially remarkable one.

Happy Birthday.

D.W. Ulsterman is the bestselling author of the San Juan Islands Mystery series and The Irish Cowboy.

He lives with his wife of 26 years in the Pacific Northwest and is the proud father of two grown children, Devan and Sienna.

He’s also best friends with Dublin the Dobe.

When he’s not busy writing you’ll find him navigating the waters of his beloved San Juan Islands.

All of his novels are available HERE

DW Ulsterman - UlstermanBooks.com