By Adam Hallenbeck– Sports Editor
When I think about that first time I saw you, I don’t think about what was going on in my life or where we were or really anything along those lines like normal people would think about. I remember your eyes. The blue that surrounds your pupil seems deep as an ocean, but that wasn’t what caught my eye. It was the beautiful yellows and slight orange accents sitting on top, creating what looks like a sunflower.
Since we started dating, it has been really humbling to learn more about what is behind those sunflowers into the garden that is your mind. What started as a nice, sweet and innocent girl turned into the strong, independent, passionate, and self-driven woman and partner that I know now.
I wish I could see you working with all of those kids with your volunteer program, making their days brighter. I hear the ideas and wonderful thoughts you have about all of the children in the schools. I feel like that is a side of you I have always adored, but I’ve never gotten to witness for myself.
I always knew that you had it though and I got the chance to see a glimpse of it. We were at the Museum of Fine Arts and we were sitting down on the ground, making do-it-yourself postcards out of tissue paper and recycled materials. There were kids and their moms, but you and your friend Paula just strolled on over and started your own masterpiece. I loiter in the other parts of the mall and come back to find you already done with this beautifully colored piece of paper. No words on it wasn’t really that special. You folded it up and started using it as a fan and weren’t really paying attention to anything when this little girl walked up to you and asked how you made the fan.
Your eyes changed. You won’t believe me when I say that, but they did. They got brighter and a little bit bluer. They opened wider and it seemed like everything and anything was possible. It got that little girl so excited and inspired to make one, that she started to make one. After a few seconds of that, she asked for yours, you gave it to her and we were all on our way.
In my eyes, it had been such a wonderful moment to make that kid’s day even more spectacular than it already was. To you, it was normal. Helping people and inspiring and being a giving person, that was all just normal stuff for you.
I am reading this book right now called From Good to Great to Unstoppable, a self-help book that teaches and inspires you how to motivate yourself and become the best version of you that you want to be. To the author, Tim Grover, there were three different types of people. There were the Coolers, the people that couldn’t rise to the challenge but could handle it enough to pass it onto the next person, the Closer. The Closer would be a person that had the skill and talent to finish the job, but soaks up all the glory and takes up the hype. The Cleaner, the most important and the most unstoppable, does all of the work that everyone else does but doesn’t look for credit. They are never satisfied by being done with a goal they have achieved. They acknowledge that they achieved, but they keep moving forward. They are not satisfied.
I see you as a Cleaner. Not because you are always striving to make a child happier or that you are working to solve all of the world’s problems with every breath you take, but because you don’t look for rewards. You don’t look for approval and nothing in your life has been done with the choices and influences of other people. Everything you have wanted to do, you have done and all on your own will. Whether it is moving out of your house to start your own life or if it is traveling across the U.S. and the globe to learn and continue educating yourself, it has all been you.
That is something that separates me from where I am and where I want to be. I keep blaming that tendency of looking for other people’s approval on my career, that it is all a career based thing. There are two things I need to change. One, I need to stop making excuses. I can say that I am doing that, but I have to actively work on not doing it. The second, let it all go. Let the care go away, I need to start doing things for me. It is my life, why let others control my decisions?
Thank you for helping me grow. I know it can be a lot sometimes. I know it can get frustrating and repetitive but I want you to know that it all isn’t for nothing. I feel like I have finally gotten the time to look at myself and become happier with myself, rather than worrying about everything on the outside.
Thanks to you; I see me. Without your sunflowers, I don’t know if the sun would have ever really come out. You always ask me what I think about when I do look into your eyes– it is this. All of this. You inspire me to be a better version of myself and that is something I may never be able to fully repay you for.
I love you,