It’s been a YEAR.
Can you believe it?
A whole year.
Well… I guess we can believe it because it has been quite the year. It feels like so much longer that we had our first official date at the Kirkland marina, holding hands for the first time in the car and listening to the sound of waves beat in time with a street performer behind us who played “Beyond the Sea” on a saxophone.
But as I lay here flipping through the past year, I marvel at how incredibly lucky I am that I was given a whole year with you, especially after spending an even longer amount of time loving you.
I marvel even more that I’m handed over even more years to come.
We have a saying, you and I. I love you more. It’s even on the little throw pillow on our bed. As if we’re always in a competition, we tend to say it all the time to each other.
“I love you so much,” one of us will say.
“How much?” the other will ask.
“I love you more than all the stars in the sky,” a romantic answer might be. Or all too often one of us will reply with something that sounds more like, “I love you more than birds like getting stuck in our garage and dropping dead.”
But we always get the point. Both of us are CONVINCED we love the other more.
So for this one-year anniversary I thought I’d give you the gift of telling you why I love you more. (And I can be quite convincing).
I love you more than all the memories.
I still remember seeing you for the first time and knowing somehow you were going to change my life. I have vivid memories of long conversations, even longer work days together, and the way I quickly learned you were the one to run to when I needed a friend. I have memories of you teaching me, building me up, winking at me from across a showroom floor, calling me after my surgery before anyone in my family even did, hugging me tightly when I cried, calling me beautiful when I needed to hear it that day, making me laugh when I wanted to do anything but, and coming to my rescue when I was backed against a wall. I remember all of these bits and pieces from the beginning and I love them more than I can say. You were the friend I always needed, the smile that put things back into place—the person I had so much in common with that it became uncanny and we’d laugh and laugh about our similarities.
From the beginning I have these beautiful memories of falling in love with you and wondering how someone could have such power over my heart. Even thousands of miles away—it was always you. Even when we didn’t talk much or our lives were in separate directions—even when the phone lines were silent. It was you. And I treasure those memories. But not as much as I love you.
I love you more than your cooking.
Yeah—I went there. You are a master in the kitchen. From seafood to barbecue to hearty chili, our table is never sub par. You’re talented to the point of a stomach ache. And I love you for it. I love that you show your love by making sure we eat like royalty—and I love watching you cook. Your eyes light up, you’re lighter on your feet. And you beam when you realize that yes, you’ve done it again. I will never get sick of your cooking or the fact that you make going out to a restaurant second rate.
But I love you more than that.
I love you more than the sea.
All this coming from a mermaid.
More than the waves and the gulls that hunt low tide and the shells that line the shore. More than I love to swim and feel the sand between my toes. More than I love to watch a sleepy ocean at sunset. When I’m with you at the ocean I find myself watching you more than I’m watching the water. For a girl who lives by the sun and has the ocean in her veins—that’s something I’ve never felt before.
I love you more than every photograph.
More than I love to capture life through my lens, I love you.
My passion for photography has always carried me, rescued me, and let me escape when I needed it most. It has always been my truest love and the deepest root that keeps me tethered to this earth. But then there’s you. And you add more color—more light—more beauty than any photograph ever has. You give me more zest and more love for what I do than anyone ever has. You make me a truer artist.
I love you more than future plans.
More than I long for anything else, I love my present with you. More than my bucket list, my goals, my dreams—my plans. I find myself more in love with spending the moment with you than I used to be in love with all my ambitions. I find myself less anxious about tomorrow and more invested in right now. I find myself telling the moon to stay put a while longer rather than beckoning the sun to create a new day. I love you more than anything to come.
I love you more than all of our adventures.
We have the most incredible times. Whether we’re dressing up to go dance or staying at home with a Red Box movie and a slab of pie, we’re making the most out of every second. From the tops of mountains to long car rides to pulling weeds out of our front yard, the hours I spend with you are my favorite parts of life. Forever I want to share your time, share your food, share your adventures, share your world. I want to explore and learn together and see new things. I love our adventures through this life and I love that you’re my adventure partner.
I love you more than all the speed bumps.
More than the fights (and yes, we can sure fight hard). More than the disagreements, the eye rolls, the sassiness, and the number of times we’ve rolled over with a huff or have questioned one another. I love you more than any doubt, any fear, any insecurity that has ever bubbled over. I love you more than all the overpowering emotions we’ll ever feel and all the moments we’ll get tired and irritated and hurt. I love you more than all of it—and because of that, we won’t be stopped.
I love you more than my own heartbeat.
Sometimes in the quiet of the morning when you’re still asleep and still have your arm snug around me, I’ll listen to your heartbeat as sun fills the room. I’ll close my eyes against the sound and feel my heart fill with a love I can’t quite explain. I would die for that heartbeat. I would live for it. I would scale every mountain and walk through fire. I would live my whole life over and go through it all again just to keep that heartbeat against mine forever.
You make fun of me sometimes for the way I still feel like it’s all surreal. But I know for a fact it will always catch my breath from time to time—it’s the little moments where I watch you in the kitchen and we catch eyes or where we read to Mia at night and have a shared smile in between the pages. It’s the moments where I watch your eyelashes flutter as you sleep, perfect and peaceful. It’s the moments where I look back at you as we hike, watching you become perfectly stenciled against a backdrop of clouds. It’s the moments where we say the same thing at the same time, where we laugh over the moronic things only we would laugh at, where we parent together and feel such contentment in the way we’ve blended—where we sit in quiet moments on the patio and listen to the rain, sharing silence.
I look back at how far we’ve come—at the first time I shook your hand and nervously introduced myself to my boss to just this morning waking up in your arms and feeling you kiss the tip of my nose as I rubbed sleep from my eyes—and I marvel at my good fortune.
I hold our daughter and listen to you excitedly talk about our next baby that we’re trying for—and I have to pinch myself that it’s really real. That this man I’ve crushed on and have loved so long is actually the father of my children. That this man is my family.
I spend so many moments looking heavenward to shoot up another “thank you” to my Lord when I think on my beautiful life that has been colored by more joy and more fulfillment and more beauty than I ever dreamed possible.
Happy Anniversary to the one who stopped my heart—and then made it beat again.
Happy Anniversary to my favorite part of me.
There is so much to come. So many sweet moments and milestones and learning curves. So many moments of bliss and growth and adventure.
And I can assure you, my love.
I love you more than all of it.