Nine years ago today, I was nervously anticipating our first date together. I have a picture somewhere of me getting ready, waiting for you to come pick me up in your grandma's car, awkwardly wearing a tux (such a departure from your usual band t-shirts, spiky belts, and ratty jeans!) and looking just as nervous as I felt. The picture shows me looking excited, skinny, and, above all, so young.
But then, we were young, just two high school students on the way to prom. Who knew it would end up like this? I certainly wouldn't have believed you if you'd told me then that in a few years we'd be married and have a baby girl.
I remember, after the photo shoot at my house, going back to your parents' house for pictures, standing in front of the tree in their yard, dropping the wrap to my dress in the grass and putting it in your mom's dryer to try to get it dry. I remember Rachel, still a little girl just 10 years old, grinning and jumping up and down around us and asking nosy 10-year-old questions like, "Are you gonna get married?" I remember your mom telling your dad to go get the picture of them from their prom to show us and thinking that it was sweet your parents had dated and gone to prom at the same high school we did, and now they were married and their son was going to prom.
I remember our fancy Italian dinner, and how you didn't know what to order and you basically wound up with a plate of cold cuts (my, how things have changed, foodie that you are now), and then after dinner walking around through the Park Blocks, holding hands and rolling your eyes at the construction workers who asked if we were going to prom, then telling them that no, we dressed like that every day.
Strangely enough, I don't remember much at all of the dance itself, except that when it was over you kissed me on the cheek. I certainly don't remember anyone (maybe it was Jessica Risdon?) taking this picture.
What I remember more is sitting in the car at the water tower, listening to Elliott Smith and having you ask me if you could kiss me...and then making out in the back seat until the sky started to get light and I realized I had to be at church to play piano in the youth group worship band in two hours. Whoops. Boy, was my mom mad when I came home at 5:30 in the morning! (It was worth it, though, I have to say.)
The nervous excitement and shy awkwardness of those first months of our relationship have long since faded. I used to think that I'd be sad when that butterfly feeling went away, but it's been replaced with such an incredible, deep, contented devotion that I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Being your wife is a huge blessing to me. In some ways, it feels like the past nine years have gone by in the blink of an eye and it was just yesterday we started dating, and in other ways, it feels like I've always been with you. We have changed so much since that day nine years ago. Some of the changes have been hard ones to weather, but we have weathered them, and I am so glad. I can't help but look forward to the next nine years with anticipation and excitement for what's to come.
Happy anniversary, love. Thank you for being my best friend.