Thursday, December 15, 2011

Four Years and Counting

Four years ago today, our best friends and closest family gathered at the Peabody in downtown Memphis to watch me marry my best friend. I don't know how the last four years have flown by so quickly. In some ways, it seems like it was just last month. In other ways, though, it seems like we've been together my entire life. I still remember when we started dating in 2003, and how baffled I was that someone so beautiful could be so crazy about me.

I don't remember the person I was before I met Crystel. I've changed for the better in almost every way imaginable. She has taught me how to love, how to pursue my dreams, how to be myself and how to expand my horizons. She's taught me the importance of family and how to be more aware of how I treat people. Since she lived the first part of her life in London and much of her family is Italian and lives in Italy, she has been able to open my eyes to the world outside of America. She's made me happier and more confident than I ever thought I could be. She has taught me to value history, and I now have a greater appreciation of items with a history, of family history and of classic movies, among other things. She introduced me to Southern California, and it's quickly become one of my favorite places on earth. Our time spent in L.A. is special in ways no one will ever understand.

I've been welcomed into her family, and she's been welcomed into mine. She's quick to point out when I might not be appreciating my family enough, which is unfortunately something I haven't always been able to see for myself. She's also quick to grab the wheel when I start heading down the wrong path.

My journey to where I am today wouldn't have been possible without her by my side, and I know God had a plan when he placed us next door to each other that first semester at Ole Miss. I find it hard to believe that a boy from the outskirts of Booneville, MS and a girl growing up in London found their way to each other without a little help, and when I pray, I'm always thankful we did. She's with me in every major decision I make, and she understands my quirky nature and why I make the choices I do.

Together, we have something I couldn't explain if I had limitless pages and endless time. I can't describe the feeling I get when I see her smile, or the loneliness I feel when she's not around.

So, what can I say to the person who has given me so much? How do I show just how much I love her and how much she means to me? How can I make her understand how lost I'd be without her? The truth is that I can't. Words can't describe it. Why do you think people keep writing love songs? I suspect it's because no one has found the answer of how to perfectly describe this feeling. All I can do is keep searching for the right thing to say or do to show her what she means to me, I hope I can make every day better for her because I'm in her life.

That's really the essence of marriage, never stop trying. You won't always be able to say and do the perfect thing in every moment, but it's the journey that counts. I wouldn't trade my life with her for anything.

To my beautiful wife, on our fourth anniversary, I love you. Thank you for taking this journey with me, even when we had no idea where we were headed. Thanks for sticking with me since the fall of 2003. Thank you for having faith in me and giving me guidance though that tumultuous fall two years later when I finally began the process of growing up, and thank you for helping to make me the person I am today. Thank you for yesterday, today and all the tomorrows we have to look forward to.

I still feel like the luckiest man alive, and I don't see that changing as we pass our 5th, 15th, 20th and 50th anniversaries and beyond.

How could I not love this life? My days are better knowing I get to come home to this family every evening.

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