5 years

Five years ago, I woke up to a small ray of light shining on my face as the sun rose over Scituate Harbor. It was a bright, sunny winter day, unseasonably warm in the 50s, and it was the day we vowed to spend our lives together as husband and wife. 

Five years seems like the first big milestone anniversary, but it also feels like a lifetime has passed. Maybe it feels like a lifetime because we've been together much longer. We met in high school, when we were just kids (although I'd still like to think we're just kids now, too). We dated long-distance through college, a distance that felt so far at the time, that we now travel regularly to go back home for visits. We got jobs, and moved in together after living with roommates fora couple years. Then we got married, got a cat, moved, got pregnant, had a baby, moved and gave our cat to friends, and here we are. Time has passed. We've changed as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. 

As I write this, our girl is sound asleep. We're having a tough week adjusting to new schedules and routines. I'm tired. We're all tired. I forgot to get you a gift, or even a card. I'm hoping words will be enough for now. Anyways, we both know I'm terrible at giving gifts. 5 years is traditionally a gift involving wood. But seriously, I would probably end up panicking and buying you a $500 custom carved box to store your bourbon glasses or something. Let's stick to words for now.

As a wedding photographer, I've heard a lot of vows. Beautiful words, full of love and intent, passion and promise. It makes me think back to the vows we said to each other, gently guided by our wonderful priest. I meant every word I said that day. But, those words weren't my own. They were beautiful, but I didn't write them. I want you to know what I hold in my heart, in my own words, after five years of marriage. Reflecting back and looking forward.

Sean, you are my partner. You are the one I choose to spend my life with, to raise a family with, and to grow old with. I promise to honor you, support you, and respect you each day. I didn't know when we got married how much my love for you would grow. I knew it would, but it's pretty bananas in actuality. 

When we were at our marriage prep retreat, one of the leaders said something that sticks with me every day - through marriage we are a team. In the face of parenting decisions, holidays, family traditions, and life goals, we're united. We have each other's backs. We cheer each other on, through the good stuff and the tough stuff. We don't always agree. In fact, we challenge each other more now, but I think our strength is in how we approach things together to find a solution. We understand the give and take. We understand the balance. 

On our wedding day we stated intentions. They were about big, important things that are still big and important. But I think there are more important intentions that should be stated, like:

I will try to remember to turn the heat back down to 60 after 8pm.

I will try to remember to put the laundry in the dryer less than 5 hours after the wash cycle ended. And I will no longer wash your shirts or sweaters because we both know that I will probably just shrink them.

I promise that I will not take your last pair of comfy pajama pants for my own comfort.

I promise that I will always do my best to make it so you can see your geeky blockbusters the day they come out, even if I think you're crazy for going to midnight showings. 

I promise I will not leave you with a nearly empty gas tank if you promise to deal with oil changes and making sure the tires get properly inflated. 

I promise I'll support your decisions and always encourage you to follow your gut. Sometimes you overthink things and avoid risks, so I'll be the risktaker to your safety net.

I promise that we'll always find a place for your action figures wherever we live, but I can't promise they won't get mixed up with Lily's. That's on you. 

A lot has changed since Lily was born. I know we don't go out as much as we used to. I miss dating you. I want to go out more. But know that as I'm saying that, I also love and am perfectly happy curled up on the couch next to you watching Parks and Rec, or asleep on the opposite end of the couch under a pile of throw blankets at 9pm while you watch The Walking Dead. 

Speaking of Lily, you are an amazing dad. Like, I can't even type this without getting a freaking lump in my throat. She is so lucky to have you as a dad. I love watching the two of you together, playing, interacting, or taking naps together. I think it takes a special kind of guy to be a daughter's father. Does that make sense? You naturally know how to take care of her and show her your love. You don't hold back. I hope she grows up to know what a gift you are to her life. 

You continue to be the greatest gift to mine.