Every year on this date, I have to take a deep breath. Because I cannot believe we’ve lived another, gloriously blessed–and altogether crazy–trip around the sun together. It seems like it’s only been minutes. And yet, it seems so very full. If that makes sense. And each year seems to fill up with more adventures, and yet pass by so much faster than the last. If that’s even possible.

All I know is that with every passing year, I find myself falling deeper in love with you than I’d felt before. And though I loved you with all my being 14 years ago, when we read our vows, I love you with an entirely different kind of love now. A love that only comes with time, with trials, endless joys, and lots of tribulations.

Last night, you and I ate at our favorite restaurant in Vail, with our biggest blessing to date: our 5 year old son, Eli. And we talked about all the hard times we’ve endured and the few valleys we’re still walking through today. During out conversations, I shared a story with you. About living through the hard times and not trying to hard to avoid it, so as not to also deny us inevitable joy. And I wanted you to know something…

I told you a story about a woman who’d lost her husband way too early in life, when his three children weren’t much older than Eli. I paraphrased from memory, but she’d been asked if, knowing what she knew now, in how difficult that time of his illness and death would be, and how difficult it’d be to raise their children alone, if she’d choose him again, knowing full well how very hard life was about to become and how much pain she’d have to walk through again. And her answer brought me to tears, because it wasn’t a simple “yes, I’d choose him again.” It was a resounding YES I’d choose him again, and then she elaborated in saying that even though she knew she’d have to relive debilitating pain in heartache and loss, if, given the chance to do it all over, she would choose him again and love him again, and then bury him again. And then, if given another chance, she would choose him and love him and bury him again and again and again, for no amount of pain & sorrow was worth denying her the joy she had with him and the children he gave her–no matter the size and physical strength of the pain she’d have to endure later. <3

When I’d heard her story, it took me awhile to catch my breath. And when I retold it to you, tiny tears ran down both our cheeks. For that story helped me vocalized something I hadn’t been able to put into words with us. And I haven’t even had to endure a fraction of her specific heartbreak and sorrow… But. Given the chance, knowing what I know now, I’d choose to relive every minute we’ve had to live together over and over again. And no matter how many things we’ve have to face and how much heartache and loss of our own we’ve endured, there has been immeasurable joy & love that covers it all like a blanket of snow.

So yes for me. Because though I have no idea what our future holds, I do know that no matter what, I’d choose you. Over and over. Times fourteen.

Happy Anniversary, my Love.  

Photos of us by my dear friend, Laura Murray