A 6 Pack of PBR is Aluminum, right?

10 years ago today, I was 23 1/2 years old.  I had one and only on child, and he was 5 months old, fat as all get-out, barely crawling and just about weaned.  10 years ago today, I lived in the basement of a friend's house who also had a new baby, and we were all best friends.  10 years ago today, I still wanted to design sets for plays as my career, still read angsty poetry, still had never touched that thing called the internet.  10 years ago today, I had a full time job in accounting, one that I was really good at and thoroughly enjoyed.  10 years ago today, I was several dress sizes bigger than I am right now, one full shoe size smaller than I am now, and had much shorter hair.

10 years ago today, there was no way I could have imagined my life now, today, in the present.  I couldn't picture my son standing to my shoulders, couldn't see the other two children yet to come into my life, would never have guessed I would live outside the US, or stay home full time with my kids, have tattoos or a nose ring, be hooked on politics, not really care about religion anymore, have lost both parents or found two new ones.  I couldn't see what a fine man my brother would grow up to be, or dream that he'd have such a great family and beautiful kids of his own.  10 years ago today, I had no real concept of family or unconditional love.

10 years ago today, I put on a new dress and a pair of new shoes, and I became your wife.

It's never been easy, but no one said it would be.  We both are totally, completely, unrecognizably different people today than we were back then. Sure, we more or less look the same; I've got a whole lot of extra stretch marks, and you've got some gray hair, but the who of who we are, the what of the things we want in life, the why that drives us on every day, none of it remains unchanged.  We discovered ourselves over this past decade, and we almost lost each other along the way.  We almost gave up, we almost walked away from it all.

Thank you for not walking away.

Thank you for sticking it out with me, even when we're apart.  Thank you for understanding that I have to run when it gets too hard, and that I'll be back soon.  Thank you for all of these kids, who are the greatest gift I'll ever be given for the rest of my life.  Thank you for keeping your sense of humour through all of it, and thank you for still believing in me after I've taken away every reason for you to.  Thank you for wanting to know me, for seeing good in me when even I can't find any, for loving me despite myself, for your patience and your kindness and your goodness.  Thank you for trying for me.  Thank you for wanting to be a better man for me and for our kids.  Thank you for every day you sacrifice, going to a job you don't really like, working more hours every day than I am awake, cleaning golf clubs you may never actually get to use again, all so that I can be home with our kids not getting the laundry done, so that we can have what we need and never have to worry.  Thank you for the security that you bring to our family.

Mostly, though, thank you for seeing something in me when I was still too young to see it myself, thank you for hanging around while I looked for it, and thank you for loving me on the other side of this decade though I probably don't deserve it.

10 years ago today, I walked down a path.  The whole way down it, I thought about stepping off, of turning and running, just like I usually do.  I didn't; I stayed, I vowed my life and my heart to you.  I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference.
Happy 10th Anniversary, baby.  I love you, with every little bit of me, forever and ever.

PS: In cased you missed it, last years' post is right here.  The post won't format and the pictures didn't move over, but you'll get the idea.