|July 26, 2002|
Exactly 10 years ago today, I woke up early to a summer rain shower. Even though we planned an outdoor wedding, the weather didn't concern me in the least. There was a smile on my face that wouldn't be shaken. Because I knew that rain or shine, no matter what the setting for the ceremony, that day I would be marrying the love of my life. When the sun set and the day ended, when all of our friends and family headed back to their respective lives, I was beginning my happily ever after.
It's hard for me to believe that what started with me writing you notes on our clarinet sheet music in band class 20 years ago (!) has grown into something so fundamental to my being. I simply would not be who I am today without you. When we first started dating, I used to worry that one day you would realize that I am not really as wonderful as I seem to be through your eyes, and you would end the relationship. I am as flawed as anyone, but you don't seem to notice. You find my idiosyncrasies endearing, you don't let my bitter moods get between us. I never feel more comfortable in my own skin than when I am with you. After all we've been through together, I no longer fear that you'll come to your senses... besides, the child support would be insane. ;)
It's been almost 16 years since our first date, and a decade since our wedding, yet I still get that giddy feeling in my stomach when you take me on a date. I remember the day after you, my biggest and seemingly unattainable crush, asked me to Homecoming our junior year of high school. I was standing at the top of the ramped entrance to the cafeteria during lunchtime. I caught your eye down below, sitting with your friends from the football team. You smiled at me and gave a small wave, and I waved back. What you couldn't see was that my heart skipped a beat and then dropped into my feet. Fast forward through the years, and today I still can't wait for you to come home from work -- not just to have your help with the kids (although dude, I totally need your help with these kids), but because being around you simply makes me happier. You can still reduce me to a puddle when you walk in the door and smile at me in the way you do that says, "Thank goodness you are here, there is no one else in the world I'd rather be with right now."
Now we are in the grind of daily life. We spend our days working to exhaustion for our children. Four gorgeous boys who exist because we love each other and went to great lengths to build a family together. They will grow up and be men one day, men who may have spouses and children of their own, who will always remember their shared childhood in our home. (Some therapy can probably help them get through that.) It's a lot of responsibility for us, and it's a lot of hard work. And when our boys do eventually leave us for their adult lives, our house will feel quiet and empty. I can bring myself to tears just thinking about how much I will miss them. But I take heart knowing that you will be here with me. I know we will still be happy just to be spending time together, whether it's shopping at the grocery store or trying out a fancy new restaurant. It was you and me in the beginning, and it will be you and me in the end.
Thank you for loving me. Thank you for putting up with me, for telling me that I am beautiful, for making me laugh every day, for hugging me when I feel down, for indulging my whims, for treating me with respect, for providing for me, for letting me listen to my radio station in the car, for cooking me the recipes that I rip out of magazines, for being my best friend.
Thank goodness you are here, there is no one else in the world I'd rather be with.
I love you always,