Mary Anne and I chose December 12 as our anniversary a while back (though somewhat arbitrarily, it's true); specifically, the day we decided to count from is December 12, 1997. Which, we realized not long ago, makes today our fifth anniversary.
I admit to being a little startled by this. I've never had a relationship that lasted five years before. (Though I should note that I haven't had that many relationships at all, and still fewer that were easy to measure the duration of.) But startled in a good way. It's been a good five years, and I continue to be grateful for Mary Anne's presence in my life. She's been tremendously good for me in all sorts of ways—from simply being good for my ego to helping me learn that it's possible to talk about scary and difficult things, from letting me admit an interest in erotica to providing me with a variety of professional opportunities, from helping me learn more about race and class to helping me learn more about myself.
. . . I'm afraid this is all coming out as a mix of dry intellectualism and goopy sentimentality, and I'm not sure how to say it better. So instead I'll stick with this:
I love you, Mary Anne. Thank you for the last five years; looking forward to the next five.