It’s been five years since that day in the park. If it weren’t for the laugh lines and the crow’s feet taking up residence on my face, I wouldn’t believe that it’s actually been that long. It’s been five years but when I look at you, I still see the same boy who stole a kiss on the steps of our hotel, who held my hands at the sundial and promised to love me for both who I was and who I would become.
Did you know what you were getting yourself into?
Five years ago we were just a couple of kids who really had no idea who we would become. We had no cable, no “real” jobs or even real dishes. We were living in our first apartment across the street from The Scary Sheetz and it was good for midnight chilidogs, not so good for general feelings of safety.
But we were barely in our twenties and didn’t worry much about that part. It’s our own place! We have furniture and groceries and pay bills like real grown-ups!
(Just remember to lock the doors.)
It was before careers, before kids. Before college loans came out of deferment (laugh-crying emoji) and before we really knew what we wanted the rest of our lives to look like. We did know that whatever happened, we were going to do it together.
You see, we were a long time coming. You won me over ten years ago, and when we found our way back to each other, I knew I couldn’t let you go.
We were sure of each other in a way that you only can be in your early twenties. We exchanged vows and made promises to learn and grow together, having no idea what that would look like. But we’re in love! It will be fine! We can take on the world!
Has it always been easy? No. But it has been so good.
In five years we’ve navigated lost jobs and new jobs and multiple jobs at once. I don’t think either of us could have imagined we’d be here, in careers that we love, through the sacrifices it took to get this far; through the days of long late shifts at Outback and early morning commutes to jobs that just paid the bills.
Not that we’ve totally moved past that point—but at least our day jobs are rewarding?
We’ve had two beautiful boys since that day in the park, who have taught us how to love harder and unconditionally, and also how to function on little to no sleep. All of that learning and growing together? It happens in those early morning hours when grace is hard to come by. It happens when the little people look to us for values, for life lessons, and we have to decide what they are; when we have to negotiate how to show love and patience and cheer each other on, even when we don’t particularly feel like it.
In these first five years, we’ve celebrated big accomplishments, held on tight through transitions and the unknown; we’ve lost people we love and watched relationships change. We’ve changed.
There are so many who warn people against getting married young. Figure out who you are first, they say. Take your time. And maybe they’re onto something. Maybe there’s merit in that. But figuring it out together is beautiful, too.
Five years have passed and many things are still the same. You are still my safe place, the one who makes me feel sure and steady when I can’t get there on my own. You are still strong and thoughtful and compassionate, the kind of man I hope our boys grow up to be. You are so talented; fearless and bold in ways that I’m not.
But the man you’re becoming? He’s even more handsome than that boy I met ten years ago, if that’s possible. He’s found his passion and pursued it, and he continues to support me to do the same. He is an amazing father with more patience than I’ll ever be able to muster. And through each step of the journey, I am falling more and more in love with him.
These years are so full—of challenges, of happiness, of change. I can’t imagine figuring them out on my own. Being married to you is the single best thing, and I can’t wait to see where our story goes from here.
Happy anniversary, HB. It has made me better, loving you.