Here's something you can do for someone you love during the holidays, and all it costs is some time, typing, old photos and a bit of memory-surfing. This is for my guy:
The 100 Reasons Why I Love You
1. All the beaches we've shared and all the sunsets we've watched.
2. Surprising me at Christmas with the Kitchen Aid I was always too cheap to buy. God, I love that thing.
3. Never walking out on me in labor and delivery, even when the nurses thought you were going to faint and told you to.
4. Buying our rather expensive bed because you hated seeing me hobble around in the morning.
5. Cutting the kids' umbilical cords when you were so obviously terrified you'd do it wrong.
6. The way you smiled at me the very first time we met.
7. Driving two thousand miles so our daughter could to see snow for the first time on her eighteenth birthday.
8. How nice you were to Mary Balogh at that writer's conference when we were drafted as her chauffeurs because the other people had bailed on her; this while you had absolutely no idea who Mary Balogh was.
9. Not dying on me from your cancer, or that fall that really should have broken your back and neck and paralyzed you for life. Miracle should be your middle name, actually.
10. Always giving me birthday and holiday cards that have the words "I love you" on them somewhere.
11. Our first date on Hollywood Beach, and later, when it rained.
12. What you wrote on those 517 tiny slips of paper you left scattered them all around the house for me to find.
13. Fixing our neighbor's lawn mower and edger to help save her the repair costs.
14. The doors you always hold open for me and any other female or elderly person within ten feet of us.
15. Warming up bath water on the gas grill for me and the kids when the hurricanes knocked out our power for 21 days.
16. Being there at every single one of the kids' school events, even when you had to drive from work and show up in your uniform.
17. The baby powder rubdowns and the scalp massages.
18. How you smiled when we were serenaded by mariachis at the Copa.
19. Driving my car without complaint when I know how much you utterly despise driving my car.
20. The way you constantly apologize to me every time you get sick.
21. All those phone calls while we were dating. Thousands, I think.
22. Feeding the neighbor's cows.
23. Filling the feeders during the winter because you feel sorry for the birds.
24. Your aftershave. Still drives me insanely crazy for you.
25. Your amazement and wonder the first time I took you inside St. John's to see the stained glass.
26. How you look whenever you wear blue.
27. Cleaning the bathrooms when you know I'd do it.
28. The undying love of little diners that we share.
29. The color of your eyes.
30. Not minding when the daughter and I drag you into yet another Cuban restaurant.
31. The way you looked at me when I was sitting with Ray in the hospital.
32. Your voice, your hands and your nose. Yes, I love your nose (but I love your hands just a tiny bit more.)
33. How you always make the Chinese lady laugh.
34. The hours you'll spend on the phone talking another guy through a problem at work that isn't your problem.
35. How kind you were to my Dad when he began forgetting things.
36. How kind you are to anyone in trouble.
37. How kind you are, period.
38. Your love of wings, which you've never insisted I share.
39. What you said when my dad died.
40. Your tireless obsessions with my pasta sauce and my German chocolate cake.
41. How you kid around with waitresses, and how well you tip them (okay, I help with that last part a little.)
42. How your voice sounded when you said, "It's a little girl."
43. How bewildered you were when I informed you that the pretty lady in the neighborhood who kept stopping by to talk to you was actually trying to hit on you.
44. Refusing to lose your temper even under circumstances that would have pissed off Buddha.
45. Going with me to see Titanic at the over-priced movie theater because everyone said we should, and (despite really liking the movie) being okay with me crying afterward while I swore I'd never watch it again.
46. Cruising around with me to look at houses just because I like to look at houses.
47. Paying a little more at beach hotels so we always have a view of the ocean.
48. Your expression when you watch the Thunderbirds perform at air shows.
49. How you're always willing to have my mom stay with us when she needs looking after.
50. Not caring that I usually smell like the dogs + hand soap instead of eau de something sexy.
51. Always kissing me good night when we go to bed, and again when you leave in the morning for work. Always.
52. Driving all the way to Cedar Key in my car and not bitching about it or making me take a turn at the wheel (and I offered a couple times, remember?)
53. Spending all that time looking for something to fix the lid on my old sewing box that is basically worthless to everyone but me.
54. Going with me to that quilt museum on the way home from Cedar Key and pretending to be interested when the lady volunteers talked to you.
55. Your obsession with wiping out the crab grass. Patton was not this determined.
56. Asking me to come and see every rainbow you've ever spotted.
57. Not getting mad at me for rescuing Skye.
58. Not getting mad about the daughter's pet rats, or the huge cage, or the smell of rat pee that sometimes gets a bit much.
59. Not getting mad whenever any other human being would simply explode.
60. Waiting for me every time I've had surgery, sometimes for very long hours in very small rooms filled with too many people.
61. Giving me your camera when I broke mine.
62. Buying me another camera when I broke yours.
63. Sharing my intense hatred of mobile phones. You, me, and the Amish, baby.
64. Driving me over to see the spectacular Christmas lights at that guy's house when you were tired and probably just wanted to go home.
65. Every time you say "Let's take a little ride."
66. That weekend at the inn by the lake, when we chanced upon the festival at the winery, and that night we sat out on the dock.
67. Letting me help when things are a bit much now versus hanging onto your pride and doing it yourself.
68. Not retiring when you should so the kids can stay on your medical insurance plan a little longer.
69. Going with me to visit family after Thanksgiving dinner instead of taking the usual food-coma nap on the couch like most other men.
70. Insisting we have a real Christmas tree every year.
71. Allowing me to gradually eliminate virtually every fried food from your diet.
72. Driving up the always-scary mountain roads so we could see the Smokies from the highest possible elevation -- in the dead of winter, no less.
73. Being okay with my love of books and quilts when you don't actually like books or quilts.
74. Being fine with taking coffee from home to work every day in reusable cups to save money and waste (which saves us like a hundred bucks every month, btw.)
75. Supporting me 100% when I went freelance, and neither of us knew if I'd make a dime.
76. Not minding my wrinkles, my white hair or my new shoulder problems (because if you do, you've never shown it.)
77. Never once criticizing me for gaining weight at any time I have over the last 24 years.
78. Doing most of the grunt work when we had a booth at MegaCon.
79. Calling me honey or sweetie instead of my name, which you use to only identify me in conversation with other people.
80. Being the only person who didn't bail on me on the worst days of my life. The only person. All of them.
81. The night of your birthday, 2003.
82. Taking care of me, the kids, and basically everything else that Christmas when I fell down the stairs and sprained my ankle so badly that I couldn't walk.
83. All the Saturdays and Sundays walking around the flea market just so I could get some exercise.
84. Your lifelong determination to prune trees so that they have perfect balance. Bonsai masters probably should worship you.
85. Bathing and brushing out the dogs, with which you have more patience than anyone else.
86. Teasing the daughter about her hipster outfits.
87. Taking us out for hot chocolate and cake in the winter and sitting outside in the cold on the cafe balcony when I know how much you hate being cold.
88. Being okay with my crazy idea to open a bed-and-breakfast even after it (thankfully) passed.
89. The things you say when you talk in your sleep.
90. The nights sitting and talking by the firepit.
91. How much you adore our children. They really have no idea, but I do.
92. Your complete inability to end a phone conversation quickly.
93. Always checking in with me every day you're out of town.
94. Asking me to marry you every day for six months.
95. The years you spent taking care of that miserable abusive bastard who treated you like crap for most of your life, simply because he was your dad and you loved him.
96. Letting me keep and look after a nineteen-year-old cat, although all he mostly does is sleep, puke and miss the litter box.
97. Being the kind of man whom other people admire, like or love. I actually don't know a single person who dislikes you.
98. Having no hobbies because you'd rather spend the time taking care of our home and family.
99. Choosing me as the first woman you asked out after your ex heartlessly dumped you.
100. Sticking with me through better or worse, including thirty-one years of our rollercoaster relationship, my arthritis, my three bouts of cancer and when I started going blind, every single one of my surgeries, the scares, the waiting, menopause, and all the other scary bad times in my life. That's why I don't need a list to know just how much you love me, and how blessed I am to have you as my guy.