in this world...

It's 10:30 on Sunday night and I'm almost ready to head to bed. I had a long drive home today and kickboxing is early tomorrow, so the night is winding down. I wanted to get some words out first.

This weekend I drove down to Spring by myself to visit my brother- and sister-in-law who just had their first baby. Friday afternoon, after a failed attempt to get bangs cut, I got in the car for 4 hours of traffic-laden, dusk and night driving. It wasn't my favorite experience. The night was long, as Bethany & Lee were at the hospital with baby Micah, and I had the whole house to myself. On Saturday though, it was worth it. After getting dressed and stopping for some iced coffee, I walked into the hospital room and saw my sweet family for the first time in too long. The love that I could feel in the room was overwhelming. I wonder if babies know how much they are loved when they're brand new like that; if they can feel everyone's overwhelming adoration of them. I spent the day at the hospital with Bethany, Lee & Micah, as the nurses came in and out, as Micah slept and woke up, and as the new parents subsequently slept and woke up. We got all ready to head home and I took pictures of their sweet family as they left the hospital and walked into their home for the first time as a family of three. It was a heartwarming experience to be there in the first few days of my nephew's life. I'm thankful I could be there to help out Bethany and Lee and to see them as new parents, experiencing everything for the first time. I'm thankful I could see them experiencing their son for the first times and the overwhelming new love they have for him.

Ben has been in New York at his Air Force base for the past week and he'll be there for another two and a half weeks. It's lonely here without him. I have my co-workers, who I thankfully already consider my friends, and I have my kickboxing acquaintances, but the house is quiet in a way that I never want it to be again. From boot camp, deployments, and the other minor days away, I can be alone. I even got good at being alone. But this time, it isn't for me. We've been inseparable during this move and I like him. It's not fun to be apart.

I knew this before, but I know it even more now: relationships are what this world is about. We surround ourselves with love from the ones we love and we're happy people. We thrive on the support of the people who mean something to us. I see it in my new nephew and his parents who love him, I see it in my marriage, and I see it in the friends and family who I miss like crazy back home. People are supposed to be with people and I miss my people. I love my new life down here and everything is actually going really well, but I miss my people. Every single one of them.

Taken last Saturday on our anniversary, at the John Mayer concert. He's my person.
More of my people: new daddy Lee and his baby Micah


It's been a year now.

The decision was deliberate, but easy. We'd been each other's for almost three years then and we talked about being each other's for forever. We knew we were each other's forevers. So, one bright but chilly day in early January, you drove down to New York, surprised me in Central Park, and asked me to spend my life loving you. How could I say anything but yes?

Having a wedding was a good start. We learned a lot about each other's families in those six months of planning and we learned what kind of family we'd like to be. On July 13, 2012, we threw one hell of a party. I still watch the little video message I sent you that morning and remember how I could not wait to get over there and marry the hell out of you. With flowers in my hair and the grass beneath my feet, I remember floating down that aisle, grinning like a fool, unable to look at anything besides you. We said our vows to each other that we'd written together just a few nights before and in front of God and our loved ones, we promised to choose each other for the rest of our days.

Every day since then, I have chosen you. But you've made it so easy. You've been more than I ever could have dreamed. I was trying to choose a picture for this note and it proved near impossible. Every picture from this past year tells a story of us and each story is my favorite. There are all the ones from our wedding day, so full of love. Or the hundreds of honeymoon pictures, on the beach, at dinner, on the booze cruise, so full of joy and love and beer. There's the one of the big hole in the entryway door of our first place, after we tried to force in a couch that just wouldn't fit. And then the one of us sitting on the front porch drinking beer after we decided to screw it and just wait until your dad got there. There are ones of this whole year too: of making our Halloween costumes, of date days when we just ran errands but it was so lovely, and ones of nights at home. Of Christmas forts, Valentine's burgers, & everything in between. All the ones of getting ready to move to Texas and all the ones of our adventures on the way here.

But this picture? This one is my favorite. It's not an extraordinary picture in setting or event or composition; I love it because it's none of those things. It was last Thursday, on the 4th of July, when I had the day off of work and we both had adventure in our bones. After waking up over a shared pot of coffee, we hopped on our bikes, mine still brand-new-to-me from the night before. My first bike with gears and made in the 70's, it can be tricky to ride sometimes, but you slowly taught me how, just like you always do. I love that about you: the way you sweetly teach me new things whenever you see the need, with patience and tenderness and laughter. We get each other's sense of humor and I swear, not an hour goes by that we aren't cracking each other up. I love that about us.

So, we biked around campus, yelling and laughing and running into each other on the way, with the wind in my hair and the sun on our faces. We stopped in a field along our ride, grabbed our new baseball mitts from my basket, and got to playing catch. I'm a sweat machine in this picture, but there was so much love inside of me that I swear I'm glowing. I'm a confident woman [admittedly naively confident at times], but every girl wants to hear that she's pretty sometimes and you sure do deliver. You make me feel so beautiful in every way.

But back to the picture: we threw and caught, for hours it seemed, and only with you could I have so much fun doing nothing. Only with you could I be capable of so much love. I grabbed my phone and asked if we could take a picture because it's nice being reminded of these beautiful days, of these times when I could just float away. You uncharacteristically obliged, I think because my phone hasn't made many appearances lately, and you leaned your head in towards mine. After the first picture, you said you wanted to take one without your sunglasses, so you took them off, leaned in again and smiled. If I could spend the rest of my days being the recipient of that smile, it still wouldn't be enough. That smile is everything to me.

It's been a year now that I've called you my husband. A year of learning to love you more than I love myself and a year of being amazed at the way you constantly love me. We don't get it right all of the time, but this year you have loved me more than ever and as I needed you to most. I feel known by you in the ways you love me. You know me and you love me because of it and in spite of it. I think that's what everyone is looking for, isn't it? We've found it. Every time I look at you, it's like coming home and it's the most loving home there is. I'm so glad you're the home I chose. Here's to our first year and every single one of our years to come, Benny. I love you with everything I have.