I am 22 years old. The mistakes I’ve made the last few years, mistakes I currently lament but will soon realize have led me to you, mean that I’m still two semesters away from college graduation. I watch Sex and the City and dream of moving to New York, with the vague idea of working in public relations. I take an internship, choosing between two radio stations, and feel mature for picking the one that’s less cool but more professional. I have no idea that in a few weeks, I’ll meet a man who will instantly capture my attention and soon thereafter, will steal my heart: you.
We are in love. We live in a cavernous loft that is both impossibly cool and absurdly annoying. We never see Laney. We sleep beneath a 12-foot window with no drapes and wake up to the Renaissance Center obscured by fog, go to art shows and apartment theatre. I explore a city I really never knew before, and I fall in love with it and with you.
We’ve given up on the young, loud, artsy loft and moved into a quieter, cool-but-not-too-cool apartment that better fits our furniture and our lives. We buy our own cars and have “real” jobs, but we still make love on rooftops and follow drunken brunches with long afternoon naps. But I begin to hate my job, and you yours. We are restless and ready to take a chance, so we begin to form a plan. Six months later, we’ll be living in a new state.
We are broken. Our grand adventure seems like a grand mistake; we’ve left the beautiful apartment we couldn’t afford and you’re crashing on my couch looking for your own place while we extricate ourselves from the messy remains of our ruined relationship. We walk around Seattle talking about one another’s future lovers and I have to laugh so I don’t cry all the time. But eventually, we’ll pick up the pieces and patch ourselves up and becomes better for the experience.
We are engaged and in the throes of planning a wedding and honeymoon in Seattle, or Jamaica, or Detroit. We expect that soon we’ll make a new family, but we have no idea that by the end of the year we’ll also have new jobs in a new city.
It’s our wedding day. You bring me flowers and sweet notes and a bottle of champagne. We eat taco bell for lunch and later, as I blush my way down the stairs to meet you, I know I have no reservations, no questions, no doubts. You are my best friend and the love of my life, the person who gets me like no one else. You promise me 70 years; I promise to make you laugh and to love you, cranky pants and all. The celebration ends with a drive-by shooting and a cake fight and an early-morning start to our trip to Italy, where we swim in the bright blue Ligurian sea, gorge ourselves on pesto and pasta and gelato, dine at the top of a vineyard, argue on a train, and wander the quiet late-night streets of Venice.
Just like my first trip with you did, our honeymoon shows me how much I love to travel and with your support, I start writing and blogging and planning more trips for us. I plan a surprise trip to Argentina for your 30th. We drink cheap wine, ride horses with the gauchos and learn to make empanadas.
Another year of our marriage, another year of exploring the world and falling even more in love with each other. With your incredible support, I pursue a new career and make plans to leave my job by the end of the year.
On our third anniversary, we celebrate at TRU and talk about our dreams, where we’ll go next, what we’ll see and do, and the world we’ll explore together. Our fourth year of marriage passes in a blur as we go to Iceland, Costa Rica, and Portugal. We settle more into the familiar routine of daily life and the comfort of what we have and who we are.
We celebrate anniversary number for on a steamy summer night at the city’s hottest new restaurant. We travel back to 1906 Paris and drink fancy cocktails in complicated glasses. We cheers to the amazing memories we’ve made, and the grand adventures still to come. And little do we know that once again, life is about to change. But the curveballs that are soon to come will turn out to be for the best, and unlike life’s past upsets, won’t cause more than momentary hiccups. After all this time, we’ve seemed to learn that no matter what turns our life takes, we can get through it together.
Five years ago today, I promised you my love. Today I renew that vow. I promise to love you for all the days of my life. I promise to argue with respect, to forgive quickly, and forget what doesn’t matter. I promise to make you laugh every day, to be your biggest fan and your best friend, to push you when I know you can do more and support you when it just isn’t enough. And I promise to try, every day, to make you as happy as you make me.
Happy anniversary, Dan. I love you more than words can say. And yes, that’s more than I love cheese too.