You dislike this picture. It was taken from an awkward angle. I was holding the phone at a diagonal above our heads. The sun was bright and in our faces from the wrong direction...whatever that means in photo lingo. I love it for so many reasons beyond the composition of the photograph. I love that you are making me laugh, as you often do. I get your sense of humor and you exercise it constantly with me. You calm me when I need to be calmed, you give me pep talks when I need to be pepped, you're quiet when I need silence, but at any given time, you can make me laugh. I LOVE that. This picture is from last week when we were picnicking on the Salt Creek Hill - a place you and I both feel at peace. You for the ocean and how alive it makes you feel, and I for the overall expansiveness of the view. That view makes me feel small in a big world. This picture was from last Tuesday, we were both able to take a break in the middle of the day to picnic. I never take the flexibility of our work schedules for granted. The flexibility that allows us the freedom for the occasional mid-day picnic and that somehow we pay our bills and eat well. Sometimes I stress at you "we aren't working hard enough." Panic! This stress is not because I don't trust you. It is merely because sometimes, when we're eating a La Sirena picnic on the hill, this life feels too good to be true. Thank you for convincing me to do the work I enjoy. Please know I always want that for you too... even when I panic. Back to the picture. You're kissing me, and affection is second nature to you. For me, physical touch is something that is intentional. But for you, it is part of your communication. The bun squeezes while I'm cooking, the hand on my waist when you first wake up, the open armed late night greetings at the door when I get home from work. I hear you. I see you. I'm so lucky to be yours.

Today, November 13th, we have been married for two years. Remember the crazy fun, perfect party we had? Perfect... if you don't count the music going out when I was at the top of the aisle with my Dad. But all things considered, it was damn perfect. I think we would both agree that year one and year two of being married have been different. The floundering that happened in year one felt more steady as time passed. We dedicated year two to knowing each other better, to loving the other how they most feel loved instead of how we most easily give love. We don't get it right all the time, but this year, you have filled me up more than ever, and as I most needed you to. I feel known by you. That sounds so hippy-dippy, but I think that's what we all want in this life, to be understood, and you are the person who understands me. This year we chose to seek counsel, to get advice from the older and the wiser about marriage and communication. We learned to apologize quicker and more willingly than before. This past year is the one I most frequently stormed up to the couch late at night. One time I took all the bedding with me, practically guaranteeing you'd come after me. I love the (charming, in retrospect) visual of me wrapped in a giant comforter at the top of the stairs, upset about who knows what, while you're truly trying to talk me down (maybe arguing back?) and just as the crazy had run its course, you swooped in to make me laugh. Which is why we have a photo of this moment. One day when we get the hang of doing this well and become the older and the wiser, I will show young couples this photo. Let's keep it real, for everyones sake, you can love each other deeply and still get unbelievably pissed.

I love our real life - the laughing, the picnics, the affection, the learning, the fighting and desire to be a better version of ourselves out of the love for the other... and if any of it does turn out to be too good to be true, I will be right next to you the entire time.

Happy Anniversary, Hugh Forte. I love you SO much.