I’ve written this a few times and deleted the entire thing because I didn’t think it was good enough.
I can’t believe we’ve been married for a year already. This time last year, I was getting my hair done, watching planes fly over the lake. I was excited and nervous and anxious and all of the feelings in between. I knew that in a few short hours, that we were finally going to be husband and wife.
I remember the first time you told me you loved me, on the steps in my townhouse. Those are the same steps I landed on when I found out my uncle Scott died and you held me while I fell apart. The same steps I sat on time and time again watching you play guitar or play with Halli. That’s where our story began.
There are a few distinct times I remember thinking to myself that I truly loved you. The first time was when you held Halli while she bled on the bathroom floor. It wasn’t nearly as romantic, but it showed me that you cared about her (really, truly what mattered), but then you checked on her after work, which was completely out of your way, because I had to work. The second time happened over the span of a week when you spent days in the hospital with my family. I didn’t even want you to meet them yet and there you were, smack dab in the thick of it. With them and with me and with us. You spent time there with them when I couldn’t even be there. You brought me Monster, let me sleep in your lap, and reminded me to keep it together for my family. The other times were sprinkled in between…when you went to Red Robin just to buy me french fries (and the guy thought you had a pregnant wife at home), the time you let Alaya spend the entire evening watching Curious George, invading your personal space on the couch. When you dropped Jacob’s picture off of the fridge by accident, picked it up, and said “sorry, man!” before putting it back on. When you surprised me with flowers, a balloon, a card, and snacks the morning I was graduating from college. I had worked the night before and could only sleep for a few hours, but you surprised me with those and drove me to Maryland so I didn’t have to drive there after working all night. There was also the time you decorated the townhouse in notes, the day you stood up and accepted Jesus, the time you forfeited your own 5k time to be with me, and the time you asked me to baptize you the week before our wedding.
I have watched you selflessly help older people load groceries into their car, give kids your tickets at the arcade, and stop to help someone jump their car because their battery died in the middle of the street. I think on more than one occasion I have seen you help someone push their car somewhere. You would never know this, but on our first date, I watched the way you treated the server because that would be my indication on whether or not I would accept number 2. I have seen you teach kids in the neighborhood how to throw a football, I have seen you shop through Old Navy for a teenage girl we’ve never met (just so she could have a Christmas), and I have seen you go completely out of your way to help someone. You did all of those without thinking twice about it. You never asked for a thank you (or expected one) and you have never ever asked for something in return.
You have wholeheartedly supported me, in everything I have ever done or wanted to do. You never even flinched when I asked to fly internationally to a country I had never been too, to serve on a medical team, two months before our wedding. You never batted an eye when I said, “hey, let’s do a birthday box for a child in foster care in Alexandria.” You never thought twice about it when I said I was going to get my Masters and then a Doctorate. You said “why haven’t you applied yet?”
You have stood beside me while I figured myself out. You have supported every dream I’ve thrown out onto the table. You have never even questioned the crazy ones (and there have been plenty). You reminded me that good things and good people still exist. You have singlehandedly showed me that a bad past doesn’t mean a bad present and definitely not a bad future. You restored the idea that happiness comes along even when you think you aren’t ready.
This time last year, we were reading our vows to each other in front of all of our family and friends, and Dan, I meant every single word. This year looks a little different. We should be in the Smokey Mountains, hiking, and drinking whiskey at the distillery (actually, just you, but you know what I mean). Instead, we’re riding out a global pandemic, at home, and going to order dinner, and probably watch Office re-runs. We have never, ever done anything quietly or as planned. And I think I’m okay with that. It makes it a little more fun. But, man, is it also fun to be your wife.
Here’s to a lifetime with you,