I had my first sleepless night in a long time, and I got up now because it's so close to the time you get up and I didn't want my tossing and turning to awaken you. I spent most of the night looking at you and thinking of how much I love you. I often tell you that you're the best husband in the world, but maybe that's a bit glib or hollow. So instead, in writing which can be read without a degree in squinting, is an expansion.
I love how warm you are, and how soft and huggable. I still hug Andy D, but you are definitely the best Andy to hug when I have the opportunity.
I love your vivid imagination, and how you've taken the edge off of what I come up with on my own.
I love your sense of humor, which doesn't resort to insults unless the target^Wperson being joked about deserves it. And then I love what you come up with, such as "May his auto insurance rates double" on bad drivers, or your observations of some of our kitties' more endearing qualities.
I love how much you care for Heidi and Sean, and how much you cared for Thena and Gail. A long long time ago, when we first considered moving in together, you mentioned being allergic to cats. I asked you, with a horrible sense of despair, if I needed to find a new home for Thena. Your immediate and vehement "no" was perhaps not a complete surprise, but I felt it needed to be asked. I am so grateful that you didn't ask me to give up my truest friend up to that point.
I love the beautiful little murrs and mews and other sounds made by Thena, Gail, Heidi, and Sean, and their sigh-snores. And although that last part wasn't about you, I love how you have always lit up or laughed when you heard them.
I love how you sometimes see me down and bring a kitty over for fuzz therapy.
I love how you recount the escapades of our furry little rascals.
I love how you love teddy bears and other stuffed animals.
I love how you can be childlike while not being childish, and how you don't feel the need to give up what you love so others will perceive you as "mature".
I love how you started driving when you realized how much I hated doing so. I'm getting a bit better now for reasons not related to how much I love you, but the fact that you were willing to do so proves what a kind and loving person you are.
I love your compassion balanced with level-headedness. I can get hyper-focused and go off of the deep end; I'm glad I have someone who will tell me when I need to calm down.
I love the flowers you send when you're away from home, and that you have folded the origami animals included in the bouquets by our favorite florist.
I love how creative you are, and the beauty of what you create. Your sensitivity and patience shine through your tessellations as brightly as the sun does when they are properly placed.
I love your smile.
I love how you're willing to defend me when others try to tear me down. I am especially grateful when it's something I know drives you nuts, but which you know I'm working on.
I love how you've been willing to give me a trillion or so chances, and that you never gave up on me. I desperately want to make it up to you and make the memories of those first rocky years just that... memories.
I love how dedicated you are to achieving goals, even with the roadblocks thrown up in your way. Your PhD diploma is more than just a pretty wall-hanging or some piece of paper saying you're smart. It's a tribute to your dedication to a goal and your willingness to see it through.
I also love how you do understand when a goal is unreachable, but when you find an alternative which is often even better.
I love feeling you next to me in bed. I hope I haven't bruised you too much with my flailing.
I love how you encourage others, including me, to live up to their potential. That you can do so without sounding superior or condescending is a miracle in and of itself, but yet it just fits in when looking at the whole picture.
I love your voice.
I love how you have never hit me. I know now that this should be a given and not something to revel about in its absence, but yet it's something which I had come to expect before I met you. Thank you for breaking the cycle.
I love how you've become friends with my earlier friends, rather than making me decide between them and you. As with the previous point I realize this should be a given, but I've seen it happen far too often to those I care for.
I love when I've made a truly awful pun or some outrageous answer to a rhetorical question and you laugh and toss a teddy bear or a pillow at me.
I love how you refuse to be macho or put on airs of testosterone poisoning. I love how when you talk about "being a man" that you're inevitably joking about fixing a car or some other stereotypical male action.
Come to that, I love how you are more likely to talk about having earned your geek badge.
I love your sense of ethics and morals. I love knowing that you could do serious harm via computer, but that you never have and never would. And I am so very happy that you understand that you have nothing to prove, and that you are content to let excellent code or gorgeous pictures speak as to your talent, competence, and intelligence.
I love the tabletop (or, more accurately, living room floor) game which you run. I love that even though the world is obviously larger than any of those inhabiting it, that there is greater good as well as greater evil.
I love how you face your fears and have encouraged me to face mine. I love that you know the difference between "having no fear" and "showing courage".
Although I may not have always been happy about it, I'm glad that you encouraged me to be more independent. I still relapse sometimes (ok, often), and I'm grateful for your reminders that I am allowed to make decisions and, more importantly, to make mistakes.
And now my journal loses its Pixar/Disney movies 1-5 G-rating and heads toward the PG of The Incredibles (or perhaps even the "...and beyond"). Skip down to the next bolded line if you're squicked by the thought of us being sexually active.
I love how you feel when we are together. I love how we make love as opposed to having sex. I am happier than perhaps I ever let on that you took something of which I was terrified and made it into something to which I look forward. I love how skilled you are and how good you feel.
Ok, it's back to vanilla. Yum, vanilla.
Speaking of vanilla, I love the scented candles you burn, and how you go for pleasant ambiance rather than overpowering force.
I love your taste in music.
I love how well-spoken (and, indeed, soft-spoken) you are. I love how you never got into mutilating the written word, except when parodying those who do so.
There are so many things I simply can't articulate; so many qualities you have which are not valued enough, or perhaps which are simply too rare, to have words to describe them. You are brilliant, compassionate, cuddly, generous, gentle, level-headed, loving, sensitive, talented, and still strong and mature in ways which can only be appreciated in the absence of pretense. You are living proof that you're not too good to be true.
Or, to put it more succinctly:
I love you.