My wedding vows to Shannon:

Nine years ago, in a George Mason University practice room, you pretended to need help with your Circle of Fourths exercise as an excuse to approach me in the adjacent room. I know, I know, you really did need help with it, but you had already changed your schedule and made a special trip to school with the hopes of finding me there.

I’m so glad you did.

Our relationship kicked off with a flurry of AOL Instant Messenger & Facebook messages and quickly grew to a weekend-long series of marathon phonecalls. Our feeble cellphone batteries strained and marveled at our legendary conversational stamina.

Everything I learned about you was intoxicating and exciting. You were a fellow musician. You enjoyed videogames. You were intimidatingly smart, witty, beautiful and, above all else, you knew who Michael Brecker was.

I was hooked.

So hooked, in fact, that I confessed to you during our first night of phonecalls, “I think I’m falling in love with you. I feel like we’re going to be married someday.” You replied, “Me too.” and I could hear the smile in your voice.

What I couldn’t have known at that time was just how much I would change and grow by your side. In obvious ways such as maturing and becoming an adult, and in far more subtle ways such as learning to lean on you for support in every aspect of my daily life.

In our nine short years together we’ve shared adventures everywhere from the sandy beaches of Half Moon Key to the mist covered “Cliffs of Insanity” in Ireland; from the dusty wastelands of Texas to the snow capped peaks of Colorado; from the rolling hills of Mulgore to the lush forests of Nagrand; from a practice room in George Mason University to the practice room we built together in our home.

Side by side, we’ve overcome so much adversity. invasive surgeries (plural), stolen saxophones (plural), hit and run car accidents (plural), and much time apart due to school, touring, cruiseship gigs, and basic combat training. Despite the hardships we’ve faced, we’ve overcome them all with love and emerged stronger each time. If there’s anything I’ve learned from these experiences, it’s that we can’t be pulled apart.

Our relationship to each other is much like the relationship of two passerby objects in space. The chance that these relatively tiny objects will cross paths in the first place is infinitesimally small, yet once they do, their paths are forever changed. At first, their trajectories are altered only subtly, but over time their gravitational force ensures that they pass each other again. And again. And again. Until their original destinations are long forgotten and they are pulled into perfect orbit-destined to dance among the stars forever.

“Yours is the light by which my spirit’s born – you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.”

I love you, Shannon Elise Fearon, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.