This one’s for Jim.

The idea that it has been a whole quarter of a century since we got married in that dusty little office of Norfolk, Virginia’s Justice of the Peace is something I am having trouble absorbing. While clearly it makes sense that twenty five years have passed–what with having lived in six homes in three cities, having raised two nearly-grown boys, and seeing just a *hint* of gray hair on both of our heads–at the same time it feels like I have just blinked a couple of times and, well, here we are.

When we got married, I had just turned eighteen and you were almost twenty. We were the only two people in the world who knew that it would absolutely work. I was fine with that back then, and now as I look through a lens that’s twenty-five-years old, I understand why others felt the way they did. We were two kids swimming upstream together, against all odds. That said, I don’t have one regret about getting married so young: there’s nobody else with whom I’d rather swim upstream, not to mention there’s a certain satisfaction in succeeding when so many others had no faith. (Heck, not only succeeding: we ROCK at marriage.)

It is really impossible to describe how much you mean to me, how much I love you. You’re there for me always. You’re my partner, my other half, my better half. You are indeed the calm in my storm: coming home–literally and figuratively–to you is one of my biggest joys in life, and the sparkle in your eyes makes me smile.

(Probably because I’m a passionate Scorpio,) I tend to toss around the word “love” haphazardly, as in “I love Ed O’Neill” or “I love cheesecake”. It may sound like I’m diluting its meaning by saying that word so much, but believe me, *I* know the degree of love I am assigning to each object of my affection. You joke that every time I proclaim my love for something or someone (like steak, crisp autumn days, the city, or Bob Harper), you move further down the list. I can tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth. Without a doubt, you are–and always have been–my number one. Everything and everyone else pales in comparison to you, the love of my life.

Happy twenty-fifth (whew!) anniversary, my Love. I can’t wait to see what the next twenty five years bring!

Melisa and Jim wedding cake