This night last year, I was saying “goodnight” to Zeke and leaving to a separate room for the last time. We had only been back in the same state for three weeks since ending our year of long-distance, so I wanted to soak up every second together. It was hard, as it always was, to say “goodnight” and walk away from each other, but I was filled with joy knowing it would be the last time we’d have to. I didn’t sleep that night – I was far too excited and filled with pre-wedding jitters. I spent the night with three of my closest friends in a hotel, and the next day was the greatest day of my life.

Our wedding was a beautiful day. It was the accumulation of months of hard work and planning done by myself and my family. I hated wedding planning and I will never do it again, but the wedding day was so perfect. It went by too quickly and not fast enough all at once. I cried a lot of happy tears that day but that single, beautiful day is nothing compared to what the following 366 (thanks, leap year!) days were.

After that day, there was the honeymoon – a week-long vacation without any connection to the outside world. We ate wonderful food and soaked up each other’s presence, learning to not be afraid of having to say goodbye again, a nasty little habit we picked up during the year of long-distance before the wedding. Then, there was the drive home and the stop in Nashville. Then, the fourth of July – my favorite holiday. We made the adults angry that day by driving too fast blasting patriotic songs and I took Zeke tubing with me for the first time – an annual family tradition he was now welcome on. Then came the day we moved into our first apartment, and he carried me through the doorway. My birthday followed soon after, and we danced by the river with no music. Then were the days of adjusting to separate work schedules and communicating with notes left around the house. After that came Halloween when I somehow convinced Zeke to wear a couple’s costume with me.

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving together the day before Thanksgiving because we both worked the day of and I remember being thankful for a man who doesn’t mind eating chicken since he would never eat a whole turkey by himself. We spent the morning before work watching the parade on our couch in our pajamas. Then, came our first Christmas together and I completely surprised him with an Apple TV while he got me a Nintendo DS. Our cat ate an entire bag of catnip that night. New Year’s was spent at a friend’s house playing games and laughing with each other. He drove me home and I thought about how in love I still felt. His birthday came and went too quickly – lost a bit in the midst of holiday craziness. We vowed not to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, and we didn’t – but we somehow stumbled upon one of the fanciest restaurants I’ve ever been to just minutes before it closed.

Then came the harder months – a blur of sad days and bad mental health days. Zeke took care of me best he could and our marriage didn’t suffer one bit, but I struggled to stay alive, which is hard for everyone involved. We’re still kind of in those hard days, but each day gets a little brighter, I think. It goes back and forth a bit but I think I’m getting there.

These past 366 days have been the best days of my life. They have been filled with the greatest adventure I have ever been on – being in love with my best friend. This year has been full of dancing in the kitchen, wrestling in the living room, laughing in the car, chasing each other through the grocery store, binge watching TV shows together, and falling more in love every day. I have cried more happy tears in this past year than I have in my entire life. I have come home every single night to a man who loves me and will do anything for me. This has been the easiest year of my life. Whoever says the first year of marriage is the hardest one is nuts, in my opinion. It’s so, so easy living in love with the best man I have ever known and I would never have it any other way.

Thank you for filling me with blessing upon blessing, Zeke. Loving you is the best thing I have ever done and the grandest adventure I have ever been on. Thank you for being by my side always. One year down and an entire lifetime of adventures to go. I’m so excited to see where year two takes us.

(Minneapolis, please? 😉 )


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