Hi, Little Girl,

Today is a big day for your mom and me. Today we celebrate our one-year anniversary of marriage.

I wish you could have been there for our wedding day. It was pouring rain with loud claps of thunder–there was even a small tornado that touched down less than 10 miles away. Your mom had this beautiful ceremony planned out under a 300-year-old mighty oak tree, but the storms washed us inside. Even then, it sounded as if the roof of the barn was going to collapse under the wind and rain. Like your mom said: You can spend nine months planning for the perfect day but there are some things you just can’t plan for.

Even through all its imperfections, it was the greatest day of my life.

That’s your grandpa to the left, then your beautiful momma, and your uncle Ryan to the right.

Your mom––my god was she beautiful. I fought mightly to contain my tears when she first walked through the barn doors, tried my damndest to calm my quivering lip. Luckily the man officiating the wedding had some rank-ass breath that dried those tears and settled my lip.

The rest of the night was a blur of mingling with family and friends, speeches, and dancing. If there’s one thing I can tell you, take a step back and soak on your big day, because one moment your anxiously awaiting the start of the ceremony and the next you’re celebrating your one-year anniversary.

Most importantly, find the person you’re most compatible with, the person who doesn’t make your relationship feel like work, who makes you laugh in ways no one else can, who makes you smile the widest smile, who cares and will stand by you in both the best times and worst times, who you genuinely believe in the deepest part of your heart is the one. Listen to your heart when it’s talking to you, and don’t try to second guess it when it’s telling you what you don’t want to hear.

I hope you have everything you ever want, Little Girl, just like your mom has given me.

We’ll do everything we can to make sure you do.