To my best friend, my better half, my dinner date, my pillow, my cheerleader, and my confidant:
How one whole year has come and gone is absolutely beyond me. Time speeds around us so quickly; in the blink of an eye I went from standing on your frozen pond, gripping your hand for dear life, looking at the word “Girlfriend?” written on the thin coat of snow above the ice, to this moment. It seems like 12 months have zoomed by in half the time, but it seems as if this has been my reality for so much longer. I can hardly remember what it’s like to not have you in my life. It still makes me laugh that in the beginning months of our relationship, people would see us together and be surprised when they found out we were only together for five months, seven months, or even nine months. "It is as if you two have been dating for years and years," they’d say. Even strangers would approach us and exclaim how glorious of a couple we make, and hearing that would fill me with such a sense of pride.
One of my favorite memories from this past year is, in fact, a moment before we even started officially dating. I want you to recall that for my 20th birthday you mailed me a two-page letter filled with some of the simplest, yet, sweetest words I have ever read. A letter you mailed to me just 11 days after you sent me that very first text message. I do not think I ever told you this, but that letter was my favorite gift that year. It was an act of old-fashioned romance that I had always dreamed of, but never was lucky enough to experience. Therefore, since it is our one-year anniversary, I would like to end our first year together with that same act of old-fashioned romance.
First and foremost, I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry for my faults, my shortcomings and for my insecurities. I am sorry for my wall that had been built up in the beginning, making it hard to let you into my heart. I am sorry that it took three times for me to finally say yes to being your girlfriend. I am sorry for making you wait.
Secondly, I want to say thank you. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for proving me wrong. Thank you for showing me not only how much you love me, but also how much you appreciate me every single day, from the moment I wake up to the moment I close my eyes. Thank you for always believing in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.
Thirdly, and most importantly, I love you. Truly, madly, deeply.
There is so much that I want to say, but I have no idea how to categorize it and shorten it into something that would encompass ongoing volumes of what I feel for you. So much has happened in just this one year, but having the constant comfort of you by my side has made me feel like I can do anything. I have more hope and expectations for myself now than ever before. I have always wanted to pave for myself the best life possible, but I am so humbled to have you here—that having you here has made me see beyond myself. My goals are now yours, and your goals are now mine, and I am not ashamed of saying that I would prefer to build a life with you than to try to strive for greatness on my own. I see us as a power couple. I see us as the couple that everyone wants to be. I see us spending our lives pushing each other further, neither of us satisfied until the other is ahead.
I think many people don't understand what real romance is. Anyone can buy flowers, candy and jewelry, but you have taught me that the truly romantic things in life are those little things you do every day to show you care and that you are thinking of me. It is going out of your way to make me happy; the way you hold my hand when you know I'm scared, the random text messages in the middle of the day, just to say, "I love you," or "I miss you." The way you tell me I'm beautiful, even if my hair is a mess and I have no makeup on. Romance is putting your favorite show on pause so I can tell you about my day and laughing at my jokes—even the really lame ones. It is slow dancing in the kitchen and kissing in the rain. Romance isn't about buying, it's about giving. True romance is in the gestures.
Once upon a time, I was very afraid that I would not be able to recognize love when it found me. Though I knew, I hardly even realized that I’ve been preparing myself for this. Every lesson I’ve learned, and every day dream I’ve had of you before I even knew who you were, has brought me to this moment where I can hardly keep my eyes dry long enough to get to the next sentence. Being in love and being loved feels so good. I wish everyone in the world could experience half, even a quarter of our love—the world would definitely be a much better place.
I have received more love, caring and consideration from you in 12 months than I have from most people that I’ve known my entire life. Loving you is being 10 years old again, scaling a tree with my eyes bright and skyward, wanting only to get higher and higher, without a thought of how I would get back down. They say that you should treat others how you wish to be treated, and this is so true in that the very love you have given me is what I have used to love you in return. Your love—intense, yet playful, innocent and pure—fills me with peace, contentment and tranquility. It is always just enough. I can only hope that the love I have for you can give the love that you have given me a smidgen of justice. I will spend the rest of my life trying to make sure that it does.
You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest and most beautiful person I have ever known—and even that is an understatement.