This is our 8th Valentine’s Day together.
I remember our first Valentine’s Day like it was yesterday. Dressing up for a nice dinner out. I wore heels! The flowers and chocolates. The basketball game you wanted to watch…when our relationship was too new for me to feel comfortable enough to say, “no way!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about where we have been together. And where we will go, too.
We have lived in 7 different apartments or houses over the years. In two different states. Including one apartment we slept in for only 3 nights. We look back and joke now, calling what happened “The Great Flood,” when our brand new 1st floor apartment filled with 3 feet of water, destroying most of what we owned. And also my parents’s house, where we lived for 3 months afterwards. And then there was the house we rented from my grandparents, where my best friend was our roommate for a year.
We have traveled together. We’ve visited New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia. We’ve been to Seattle, San Francisco, Orlando (including two trips to Disney), Atlantic City, and multiple places in Virginia. My first trip out of the country was with you, to the Bahamas. On our 2nd trip to the Bahamas, we decided to get married a year earlier than originally planned. And we spent our amazing honeymoon in Paris and Nice, in France.
We have experienced loss, together. Including two of your grandparents, both of whom lived long and full lives, but are still greatly missed. And our niece, who wasn’t quite ready for the world.
We have experienced illness too. Like the time you had mono, and one night at the E.R. I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.
We have witnessed break-ups. Including the surprise of my parents splitting after nearly 26 years of marriage.
We have witnessed love. We have watched each of our siblings find the person that has become their partner in life. (Not to mention, my brother met his wife at our wedding reception!) And we have been honored to be included in each of their wedding ceremonies.
Milestones have been reached, together. Marriage. Moving to a new state. Buying our first house and turning it into a home. Bringing our daughter into the world and truly becoming a family. A family of three.
As parents, we have faced new joys. Holding our child in our arms for the first time. Her smile, her laugh, her first steps, and her first words.
And new challenges together. The sleep deprivation, the constant worry about making the right decisions, the struggle to find balance in our lives (the balance between time for ourselves, time for each other as a couple, and time together as a family.)
Through everything, you are someone who will…make me laugh, hold me while I cry, ground me when I feel lost, let me sleep in when I am exhausted, humor me when I feel the need to compulsively clean, take our daughter out to play when I need time to myself, and love me, just the way I am, always.
Today, on Valentine’s Day, and everyday of my life… I am so very grateful for you. For our love for each other. For the child we have. And for the (wonderful, crazy, chaotic, exhausting, amazing) life we have created, together.
What I wrote in my vows still holds true. And will continue to be so, where ever life takes us.
“I know that together, we can go anywhere and accomplish anything…because when I am with you, I am home.”