Last weekend, I was hanging out with my family and we began sharing stories about how my grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles met. Each story had its own special charm, from my parents being the classic high school sweethearts, to my aunt and uncle spotting each other from across a bar and knowing it was going to be something special, to my grandma boldly asking my grandpa to dance. Even though I wasn't there to witness the beginnings of these relationships, I am lucky enough to be able to see the bond between my parents firsthand every day and have learned so much about love and strength from them.

The relationship that my parents have built is so much more than just that of husband and wife. They are also best friends with countless inside jokes, dance partners with the kitchen as their dance floor, travel companions, and the most incredible parents that I could ever ask for. I'm sure that when they started dating in high school all those years ago, my parents couldn't have imagined all the things that they would go through on their journey together, but I'm also sure that they wouldn't trade that journey for the world.

In the 21 years my parents have been married, it's no secret that they've gone through their share of ups, downs, disagreements, and controversy. Some days they are slamming doors, other days they are laughing with each other to the point of tears, and sometimes these things happen within 30 minutes of one another. Although their relationship, like any other relationship, will never be perfect, the way that they come together to support and love one another despite their occasional battles is executed nearly flawlessly.

My parents make little decisions together every day about what show to watch or who's driving my brother to practice, and they've also conquered big decisions together, like figuring out the best way of telling their three young children that their dad had been diagnosed with cancer. Between the difficult task of raising three kids, taking care of one another in their sickest and most vulnerable moments, and working through the day-to-day disagreements, I've been shown that hard times truly can make a relationship stronger, and that even on the worst days, the love that they have for each other can still shine through.

Every love story is special, but in my biased opinion, I am sure that the story that my parents have begun to write and continue to craft together is one of the best. The way that they care about one another so effortlessly doesn't go unnoticed. In a world of divorce and failed relationships, it's definitely a blessing that my siblings and I are given such a great example of how passionate, silly, and meaningful a marriage can and should be. I am so lucky to be able to strive to model my own future relationship after that of my mom and dad, who have emulated their vows of marriage in every way possible.

So, here's to 21 years of marriage, of loud, pointless arguments that usually end in hysterical laughter, of painfully awful singing duets in the car, of getting through the good days and the bad, of building an unbreakable family, of lifelong commitment, and to being two amazing individuals who are even better together.

Mom & Dad,

I love you and happy anniversary!