We’ve always been different, you and me. I was the quiet girl. The shy one. But you were the one that got asked to host a school-wide talent show. As a first grader. You were the kid who’d wander away from your mom in department stores or play “bellhop” in hotel elevators, and when she would find you, you’d be casually striking up conversation with people ten times your age, asking them about their evening or gesturing to the buttons on the wall and saying, “Which floor?” You were precocious and charming and full of imagination from the very start.
And when high school rolled around, this quiet, shy girl noticed you right away. But didn’t tell you. Of course. Because when you’re fourteen and the boy with golden brown skin and a smile to kill walks into your English class, the only thing to do is… absolutely nothing. I mean, you tell your best friend about it right after school, and then never utter a word about it again. When you’re fourteen, you never suspect that three years later you’ll be on his arm at the senior prom. And that he’ll write you into his graduation speech. And that you’ll spend the next four years growing up together before he’s waiting for you at the end of the aisle. But that’s how it happened. That’s our story, you and me.
And that night that I walked through our door and told you I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, you didn’t hesitate. You found a way to make it happen. You picked up an extra job to save money for our first camera. You surprised me on Christmas morning with the camera of my dreams and you told me you were in. That you were all in. That we were going to make this work, you and me. You’ve always believed in me. In us. You believed in us and our big scary dreams, and I will never be able to thank you for that.
I will never be able to thank you for carrying all of our bags when we travel, or letting me steal your big sweatshirts and sleep on your shoulder. Thank you for knowing our itinerary and the balance in our retirement accounts and when to change the oil. Thank you for always having the right answers to tough questions like “Which earrings?” and for making me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. Thank you for every Netflix date, every walk under the stars and every shared meal. Thank you for being the man who takes care of me. The man who loves me with his whole heart. The man who always puts me first. Today, we’re celebrating you! Thank you for living this crazy amazing adventure of a life with me. I love you more than you will ever know. Happy birthday, you!
With all my love,
Photo Credit: Annamarie Akins
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