I almost don't recognize us. Nine years ago today we started dating - although it took us a few days to make it Facebook official ;) I'll never forget looking at you over the steak dinner we were sharing and thinking I knew you so well, not realizing how much I had to learn. I'll never forget how you told me you were interested in me - I was sitting in Cape Town, South Africa, on a chair overlooking the water, and you were squarely in Virginia, using your internship money for long-distance phone cards.
When you worked up the nerve to tell me you liked me, I just laughed and told you I already knew that. You seemed both terrified and relieved because I would go on to be your first girlfriend and you had no idea what you were doing. But you had spent the whole summer emailing me (every day or close to it) and you called me more times than even my family did. We talked about everything from stupid TV shows to our relationship with God. I still have these emails saved.
Over the years - almost a decade's worth - it's easy to forget our love story. We have a child, jobs, a house, and all the responsibilities that come along with that. We've both changed so much (you visited Africa and I actually settled somewhere!), although we still both have an affinity for steak ;)
What I want to tell you today is that I remember. I remember why I liked you then and I remember why I love you now. It's not because you bought a longboard for me in the desperate hope that it would be worth it (and when I forgot how to brake, crashed, and skinned my entire leg after the first ride, you thought it was all lost). It's not because you met my mom before we even started dating and spent the day moving me into my dorm room. It's not because you waited until we were 'official' before even holding my hand because you wanted to respect me.
It's because you still are who you were when we met - only better. It's because you still love God first, and cherish your relationship with Him the most. It's because you still surprise me on the regular, even if my tastes have changed from sour Skittles and Krave cereal to cashewgurt and Rebbl coffee. It's because you not only love my family like your own, but you hold our family in the highest regard. It's because you've never changed in your faithfulness and love, but you have changed in your areas of weakness. It's because you are still that goofy and reserved college student who is only really himself around me - an honor which I will always cherish.
You are who you are, and I love you for that. Never change. Let's spend the next 90 years together, ok? Because I can't imagine life any differently than that.