I hope yall don't mind the inconvenience, but I need to talk about Jheniffer Rodrigues.
Yup, you got it right. Not Jennifer, nor Jeniffer, Jenniffer, Jenifer, or any other regularly spelled variation you could think of; this one goes by J-H-E-N-I-F-F-E-R, with the H taking most of the work in representing how unique she is — and putting all spell checkers, text editors, and my relatives on the same quest to properly spell it.
Before I start with my few hundreds of words of some loving cliché usual for birthdays, one quick heads-up for you, dear reader: this isn't 100% about her but also about the need I have to express what I feel — especially what I've been feeling in the last few months — because I think it is only reasonable for everyone else to know about the amazing person she is.
I met her when were both sophomores in high school and nowadays she's the one who makes all my recipes go wrong because I get distracted with our never-ending conversations in the kitchen. But that's not all!
- Jheniffer loves miniature puppies, especially Chihuahuas and Pinschers — and that's how we managed to bring Ricardo to our family;
- Jheniffer hates coffee but she still goes to cafés with me — okay, it helps convincing when I promise I'll pay her a hot chocolate; she loves a good one;
- Jheniffer excels doing stuff on Excel — seriously I still haven't figured out how she manages to learn tricks there that fast;
- Jheniffer has some playlists on Spotify that bring a whole new meaning to my definitions of being eclectic;
- Jheniffer cooks the best Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi one could ever taste. And please, don't make me talk about her chicken wings or her desserts!
- Jheniffer is also the one who convinced me that gnocchi and spinach is actually a good thing to try — and this made me become a gnocchi-person;
- Jheniffer, for some reason, thinks that Czech is more beginners-friendly than English — and I can't even say how much this puzzles me;
- Jheniffer throws facts and curiosities about the human body on random conversations — those she learned when taking speech-language pathology lessons;
- Jheniffer dreams of visiting as many countries as possible, including Hungary, Romania, Finland, Greece, and Maldivas;
- Jheniffer has likely been through the whole Netflix catalog; in more than one country — but when she's puzzled by a movie's plot, it always means we'll have to watch it together. You know what they say… "Two heads are better than one";
- Jheniffer slaps me if I miss one frame of any movie we're watching together;
- Jheniffer has already been through my crises and she didn't give up on me; she came along and stayed with me till I calmed down;
- Jheniffer judges me 24/7 when I'm doing housework, finding imperfections even in the way I do the dishes;
- Jheniffer eats sugary stuff and goes shopping when she's stressed out — me being 50% of the reasons why she's stressed out;
- Jheniffer is one of the most hard-working people I've ever met;
- Jheniffer is the best one I know in coming up with handcrafted surprises for birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations.
By the way, the last bullet on the list is actually why any effort with these paragraphs here won't outcome something as amazing as what she would come up with if it were her trying to make a birthday surprise.
I want to give it a shot, still. So… Happy birthday to her! Today I love her more than yesterday and tomorrow I will love her more than today, cause she's one of the kind who shines, captivates, and surprises. She's a lovely woman and I... I am in love with her!
I admit the world itself right now isn't in the perfect scenario to celebrate another year of her life and the last few months haven't been easy, either. We all are going through something challenging — and quite terrible, to be honest —, but at the same time, this whole thing showed me how privileged I am to have someone like her by my side.
I can't even put into words how much I am looking forward to all the incredible moments that we are still going to have — and I am aware of the tough times that will come, but what matters is that we spend all of these together.
Obviously, our relationship also challenges us, but in the end, we improve and expand each other's universe. She encourages me, helps me discover the best things, and together we come up with whatever is missing.
Obviously, Jheniffer still exists with no Matheus and Matheus still exists with no Jheniffer. But I honestly admit that my favorite version of each other is when we are together. And by her side is how I want to be to see her conquer the whole world!
I started writing this essay for Jheniffer — my wife — and I realized that we might decide to follow different paths, one day. Then I figured out that I'm really writing this essay for Jheniffer — a person I can't even say how much I admire and how lucky family and friends are to have in life —, because relationships might always face an end, but this thing… This shall never end.
Jheniffer, you've always been my favorite color.