Happy birthday, Connie!
March 09, 2011 - I've never been attracted to meek or subservient women. I've never understood men who would rather have a shadow than an equal.
By the same token, I've never liked women who annoyingly spout off about 'empowerment' and 'sisterhood' while sporting some inane inspirational wristband.
Or women whose lives revolve around purses, shoes and imitating "Sex and the City" characters.
That's why 10 years ago I was fortunate enough to marry a woman who wasn't a cliche; a woman who didn't neatly fit some stereotypical mold.
My wife, Connie, is truly a unique woman who challenges me – in a good way – every day with her intelligence, her passion and her sheer will to persevere.
I have never known a woman – or man for that matter – with the inner strength to overcome the obstacles she's faced with such grace and dignity.
Connie's survived toxic relationships, life-threatening illness, dire financial straits, emotional trauma and the potential loss of her beloved home.
Anyone else would have thrown in the towel years ago, but not Connie. She faced each situation head-on and refused to let it beat her.
Connie could have easily claimed the mantle of victimhood, as unfortunately so many in our society do these days. But she never did. She never once blamed others, sought pity or became bitter.
Even more impressive than her will to fight on as darkness descends around her is Connie's capacity for self-sacrifice, empathy and friendship.
She always puts others' needs ahead of her own.
And she doesn't do it because some book tells her to or because it feeds her ego. Connie genuinely cares for others because that's just who she is. Helping comes as natural to her as breathing.
When there's a worthy cause in need of extra hands or a creative mind, she doesn't hesitate to volunteer, no matter how tired or busy she may be.
When a friend's in need, Connie's always there with an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on and a free hand to block a cameraman. She'd take on the world to defend a friend because her loyalty knows no bounds.
Everyone should have a friend like my wife. Someone who listens without judgment, accepts without conditions and loves without limit.
I don't admire many people, but I admire my wife.
I don't trust many people, but I trust her implicitly.
Knowing Connie has truly made me a better person.
Having access to her mind and opinions has made me a more thoughtful writer.
Being the recipient of her love has plugged all the holes in my heart and my soul.
I'm so glad she's in my life and I'm so pleased to be able to celebrate another one of her birthdays today.
I couldn't imagine my life without her.
I guess it's sort of my birthday, too because I feel like I was reborn when she came into my life.
Happy Birthday, Connie!
And thanks for everything.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.