In Belgium at the end of the day I remember clearly looking at you as we watched the sun set brilliantly in the west and feeling an absolute and overpowering love for you. The way you smiled and unconsciously played with your hair poking out of your warm hat; the way you squinted when the wind blew cold; the way you shrugged your shoulders to keep your neck warm; the way you looked thoughtfully at the ocean and folded your arms. I remember thinking, This is the woman I will marry, this is the woman I will happily spend the rest of my life loving. And so the feelings continue undulled, vibrant with the memory of our time together, tingling in anticipation of our life to come.

I’m excited with the thought of living together, raising dogs and children together, experiencing life and growing old together. I know it’s odd, but I imagine us as grandparents, and fabulous grandparents at that. Smiling, wise and fun old-folks with a strong sense of love, place, time and people. I think of our future and smile. I think of you, and smile. I remember other Belgium-esque moments, and smile.

When you see me smile for no particular reason, now you know why.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You give me happiness (not to mention some pretty keen eye-skirting smile wrinkles).