Mad for…Tom

Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love. (St. Therese of Lisieux— whose feast is celebrated today!)

A thoughtful message came through my phone this morning from my friend, Kendra Buehler wishing me a happy anniversary. I had forgotten that Kendra and her husband, Leo, were married on the very same day as we were…25 years ago today! Happy Anniversary, Buehlers!! I find it fitting that today my husband will be out on the golf course just like he was the day we got married! That was his version of the bachelor party. It was perfect! It was warm and sunny that October 1st in 1994, just as it is today. My guy is just as handsome now as he was then.

We met when we were sophomores in high school. I was 15, and Tom was 16. Our mutual friend, Kathy McDonald (Siegmann) was responsible for the set up. I remember saying, “Well, he’s tall, so that works.” Haha! The depth displayed in my discernment sounds about right to all who know me? Our first “date” if one can call it that, was a bus trip to Westfield High School to watch our Central Catholic Knights football team take on the Rocks. I don’t have any idea who won the game. I was drawn to this soft-spoken, handsome young man with the winning smile who was full of sarcastic giftedness. I still am. He’s been my date for every dance, prom, wedding, or other event since.

We’ve done everything from make apple dumplings for the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon together at age 16 to mourning the loss of Tom’s mom just a little too soon. We had a perfect beautiful baby boy in 1997 who we named Nicholas Frederick after Tom’s grandfather. Nick brought with him to this planet joy I had never known before and made us parents together. It’s a co-parenting partnership that works. He was followed shortly thereafter by a little preemie we named Andrew James after my dad. For those of you who have been following along on our little love story over the years, little “Drewbie” ironically turned into a very large human who now stands 6’5 and practices against the women’s basketball team at Purdue to help them out. My point is, our little preemie with all the fancy buzzing equipment…well…he got his surgery at Riley Hospital and then he became healthy and big. Then, when “oops” seemed like an inappropriate name choice for our third son who was born on Memorial Day weekend in 2004, we named him Zachary Charles for our dear family friend, Chuck Stumpf. Z’s the one who keeps us young. Our family would not have been the same without him or all his “Lightening McQueen” cars or sweet smile. Without question, the fact that our three boys genuinely love one another is among our greatest shared joys.

Things are not always perfect over here, just like your house, ha? We’ve both had moments and exhibited behavior we’d really rather forget. Here’s the thing. The little things are not small things at all. They are what make and break marriages. When it rains and Tom pulls me up to the door before he parks the car? That’s love. When he always carries in the heaviest items and does all the yard mowing? That’s love. When he lugs the trash cans down the hill on icy days so I won’t fall? That’s love. When he lets me warm up my frozen toes by snuggling up next to him with the ice cubes I have for feet? That’s love. When he tells me I am making a fool of myself yelling courtside at teenagers? That’s the most annoying kind of love.

Many years back I had gall bladder surgery. Three days later, I was in more pain than I had ever experienced and Tom took me to the emergency room. The docs were baffled, and Tom was certain I was suffering some complication due to that surgery, though initially the ER docs disagreed. I was in excruciating pain and pumped so full of pain meds that I lost the memory of that night. I recall waking up the next day being told I had surgery to correct an earlier surgical problem– bile had been seeping into my abdomen. There was a drain coming out my side that I am not at all certain would have ever been placed there had Tom not taken charge and INSISTED they go take a look…which they did at something like 3am in an emergency surgery. I was septic, and his google search and attentiveness is what I credit with saving my life that day. He’s been similarly present for something like 14 kidney stones and 5 surgeries to “free the rocks”. This winter when they found a tumor in my lung and things looked pretty scary, he went to mass with me and he walked around the block with me and held my hand and told me we were going to be okay. He was right.

Tom’s incredibly intelligent, pragmatic, and hard-working. I am so proud of what he has done with his life professionally at Somerset CPAs. Provider stress has to take its toll, but Tom Thieme has done a phenomenal job taking care of our family over these 25 years. He’s fidgety. It’s a quality he inherited from his dad. He can’t sit still for long, so when we vacation he doesn’t have the same poolside/ocean front staying power as yours truly. He’s got to GO DO SOMETHING. On the other hand, I can sit and read a book while listening to the waves…for days. He understands, and keeps moving the umbrella so I’m in the shade. Sometimes, he leaves me there for a few hours and plays a round of golf. I’m sure to get a text, “Hey, I’m back. Before I come down to join you…do you need me to bring you anything?” That’s love.

Supportive and passionate about sports, Tom always shows up for the kids events. He’s the one who remembers the game time and has checked the satellite view to see that the baseball field is on the southeast part of the park, or there is a back entrance next to the tennis courts. He’s a grillmaster and when he has time, the most gifted cook in the family for sure! He’s a frustrated Boilermaker fan, a passion we share. He loves my family and always welcomes them to our home, even if he has been caught purchasing cheap “mother-in-law wine” for my mom! He’s attentive to details that I often don’t notice at all. Each of us has strengths where the other has a weakness.

We are not perfect, but the Lord knew what He was doing when He paired us up. I think back 25 years ago to that wedding mass at St. Lawrence Catholic Church on the north side of Lafayette, and I feel some nostalgia today. Mostly, though, I feel gratefulness for the beautiful life we have built together.

I love you, Tom. Happy 25th Anniversary.

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