Five years ago my roommate and I hosted a party for a goofy, raven-haired guy who was turning twenty-one. I bought a dollar-store beer mug to bake a cake in, and we crammed about 20 people into our yellow, two-bedroom rental house. My 4-cup coffee maker was working overtime that night, and I remember we didn’t even have enough plates for everyone.
The party was complete chaos, and I ran myself ragged scrambling in and out of the kitchen trying to make sure the guests had cake and coffee and some way of staying cool among all the warm bodies. I also remember that at one point I found myself sitting beside the birthday boy.
I hadn’t known Tanner Smith for very long at that time, but I thought he was one of the friendliest, calmest people I’d ever met. (Not to mention, he was in ridiculously good shape and had a perfectly chiseled jawline.) In that moment, sitting beside my 21-year-old future husband, all I really knew was that he was a decent person and I liked being close to him.
Even though five years isn’t a very long time to boast about loving someone, I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a lifetime with Tanner in order to understand what a special person he is. After just a little bit of time with him, you’ll notice he’s someone who zooms right past superficial niceties and attacks the heart of any conversation whether you’re ready for it or not, and he’s that person who will literally go the extra mile (or many extra miles) no matter who you are. Unlike so many of us, he’s not one for taking life lying down and will work himself out of commission rather than spend a day sitting on the sofa watching TV. As far as his character goes, he’s extremely thoughtful, which is often made apparent through his elaborate and unprompted gifts. Also, he holds himself to the highest standards in conduct, attitude, and thought, and he genuinely believes nothing is impossible.
I hope it goes without saying that I absolutely adore my husband. Although I probably don’t say it nearly enough, I think he is everything that a person should be; and, if given the chance, I couldn’t bring myself to change a thing about him–not his tireless desire to question and seek truth, not his obsessive tracking of our groceries according to price per ounce, not his phobia of poop-filled diapers, and not even his incessantly sweating hands and feet. Everything about who he is has contributed to our being together in some way, so I love every “normal” thing along with every quirk.
Yesterday I started thinking about the night five years ago when I sat next to a nice, attractive guy in a house full of other equally wonderful, eligible people. There were so many things I hadn’t learned about him or that simply weren’t a part of him then, but what’s amazing is that I knew two things on August 9, 2012 that are still valuable and true today: 1) Tanner Smith is an incredibly decent person (the kind who blows your mind with how freakishly good he is), and 2) I want nothing more than to be close to him constantly…all the time…forever.