Ten years ago around this time of year, I met you. Jenny introduced us. She called you “her freshman.” You were polite, smiling, quiet. I was boisterous and overwhelming and showed you my striped knee-high socks. We tried to get you to come to the cafe to come do homework with us, but you declined. I knew you as the trumpet player on the stage, the reserved kid who worked stock in the college kitchen, the one who was hard to get to come out for anything.
But gradually, you began to spend time with us. You became the friend who played guitar in the basement of the music department. The one who practiced his horn daily. The responsible guy who put his paychecks directly on his school bill instead of blowing them on lattes. Every once in a while, though, we managed to convince you to come to a coffee shop with us.
Over time, though, your friendship spilled into my life and saturated my days. We began sitting next to each other in class. And then we started writing notes, like most kids fresh out of high school did at the time. We explored new places together. We would take your guitar to the city and play for pocket change. We would sing together frequently, often recalling lines of certain songs that were pertinent to the situation we found ourselves in. We talked for hours- on the phone, in the Jeep, in the music building, anywhere we went.
That summer, I met your parents. We would meet each other halfway between our two houses to get ice cream, go antiquing, or take hikes. You drove into town for my birthday. Finally, that next fall, we bought tickets to see a Bright Eyes concert together. A couple days before the concert, I asked you what we already knew:
“So, do you wanna make this an official date, or not?”
“Well, I was going to ask you the same thing…”
And so it was. We went to that concert “officially” together (even though we both knew we were really already together way before that). And for the next three years, we did everything else together too. Our relationship had serious ups and downs- it went through its share of indie film moments, its euphoric, twitterpated romantic phases, and also some very dark days- but we always reconciled with one another, each of us always believing that the other wanted to work towards the Good. And it was that wanting- that desire to do right by each other and by God- that was our glue through some of our toughest moments.
All of it really did gradually turn for good. We grew as individuals, and we grew together too. There’s not room enough to tell the whole story now, but what started with a friendship was tested, strengthened, and grown into a resilient and steadfast love.
And after almost three years of togetherness, it all culminated into one day that was not an ending, but a new beginning.
We celebrate six years of marriage tomorrow. You have stayed by my side in a tiny basement apartment, a farmhouse, a trailer, and now our own home. You have encouraged me in singing and teaching. You actively supported me through two pregnancies and births. You have been a present father to our children. You have seen me in all forms- from cheerful and successful to sobbing wreck, from calm and thoughtful to bitter and nasty- and yet you have stayed faithful, patient, giving and forgiving.
I love your thoughtfulness and consideration. I love how you give of yourself without asking for anything in return. I’m so glad that you try to think of the best in people and that you are slow to make assumptions. I’m happy you are humble, trustworthy, hardworking, kind. You have a rare persistence that I have yet to see in anyone else. You are so good to us as a family, and I couldn’t ask for a better companion.
I love you more today than I did six years ago, and I know that as life goes on, I will only love you more. Here’s to our six years, and many more to come.