We've been you and me for a long time. We've moved in the muggy Florida heat together. We've trekked across the country together. We've perched in the middle of Mt. Hood and watched the sun stretch over the peak together. We've walked down Charleston streets in the muggy midnight together. We've hiked through Cataloochee in 19º mornings together. We've found treasures in middle-of-nowhere antique stores together. We've rescued a dog together. We've planned a wedding together. We've rearranged furniture together. We've made meals together. We've been happy together and sad together and we've changed together.
I've spent a large part of my life with you by my side. How lucky that is. We all find love in different ways, and it can look different for so many different people. And that's lucky, too. It's lucky that we can all arrive at love in different ways. You and me, we have had the immense fortune of literally growing up together. And we'll continue to grow up together for the rest of our lives.
You have been my very best friend through so many different parts of my life — parts where I felt strong and capable and parts where I felt really small and like I needed some help pulling myself up from whatever struggle I was wallowing in. Parts where I felt sure of myself and ready for the next challenge and parts where I felt confused and terrified. And through all of that, we've counted on one another: to be the voice of reason, to be the one who was strong and willing, to be the one who found the words when the other could not, to be the one who could find clarity in a murky situation, to be the one who reassured, to be the one who comforted, and loved, and cared.
This is what it means to love someone. It means finding the beautiful parts and lifting them up and reveling in them and being so very thankful that those parts exist. It also means staring the ugly parts in the face and claiming them and loving those and being so very thankful that those parts also exist. It means recognizing that both beautiful and ugly are necessary to make a human being whole. And I am so grateful to love the whole you because I wouldn't be the whole me without the whole you.
I love you more today than I ever thought I could. More than the teenage girl who found the daisies on her doorstep. More than the 22-year-old who found post-it notes littered around the apartment after you left for a two-month residency in Montana. More than the 23-year-old who stood and said the vows that so many other beautiful people have said long before we said them. And I will love you more tomorrow and the day after that and forever and ever after that because that's what it means to find the love of your life. Thanks for being mine.