A friend from high school came to visit recently, and during a quiet moment she asked me what it feels like to be married to the same person for 25 years.
She asked because she knew Jenny and I were heading towards our silver anniversary (she was Jenny's maid of honor).
After a pause to gather myself, I answered: "I wouldn't know...'cause neither one of us is the same person. If we hadn't each changed a few times, I don't think we'd still be married."
Well, the day is now here. Twenty-five years ago today, I exchanged lifelong vows with the only woman I've ever dated. But she's not the only Jenny I've ever known.
Truth is, I've had the incredible fortune to know several Jennys over these years:
The 16-year-old Jenny...who was, by far, the hottest girl to ever laugh at my jokes.
The engaged Jenny...who somehow became closer to my family than I was (and somehow convinced her family to actually let her to get married at 20 years old!).
The newlywed Jenny...who transferred away from all her college friends to join me in a tiny apartment in Austin.
The young mother Jenny...who became so good at nurturing without hovering and correcting without punishing.
The incredible teacher Jenny...whose students learn and grow so much they both respect and love her, even if they don't like literature.
The business partner Jenny...always willing to support my professional dreams no matter how much they cost.
The romantic life-partner Jenny...whose face has only gotten prettier but whose lips and hands still make me feel like a smitten teenager whenever they touch mine.
During this time together I've also gotten to know some other Jennys I didn't see coming:
The fierce Jenny...whose strength got me out of bed after multiple surgeries, and whose faith in our own principles helped us through the inevitable storms of parenting teenagers.
The independent Jenny...ready to carve her own pathway of thought and action, even in disagreement with her "relationship expert" husband (thankfully), or even in opposition of mainstream opinion.
And, of course, the survivor Jenny...who beat the hell out of cancer not once, but twice.
I've had the ridiculous pleasure of knowing and being loved by all these Jennys. And I can't wait to meet the versions to come. So no, I don't know what's it's like to be married to the same person for 25 years. I don't know if anyone can.
But I do know one thing...I'm more in love than ever.
Happy 25th, baby.