To M, with love.

The Top 10 Reasons I love M:

1. In my mind, food is complicated. Food is often anxiety, boredom or sadness. But M has taught me that food is sometimes just food. The first time we went to the grocery store together I circled the ice cream aisle three times, all the while filling my cart with food I didn't actually enjoy eating. M saw what I was doing and minutes later, I left with the ice cream. Now I eat vegetables and tofu, tortilla chips and chocolate. And when Grandma Katsy serves sloppy joes and tells you to eat, you eat. Because sometimes food is love too.

2. M shows me how to be a better person, every day. One time M and I witnessed a drunk homeless man at the library fighting with the security guard. M held his door for him on the way out and called him sir. When we went out to eat last week, M offered our seats to an older couple who'd just walked in the door. When we volunteer with people with disabilities at the Humane Society, M is beyond patient, showing them how to hold a leash or pet one of the dogs. To some, it might seem like he's just well-mannered. And he is. But to me, his actions are daily reminders of the person I want to be.

3. M sings to me in the car and hums around the house. It's adorable.

4. He also talks in his sleep. We've been known to have full conversations with me fully awake and him fully asleep! It's a great time to ask for things or to just cheese at him full on. Most of the time he asks me nonsensical questions about beer, Tom and Jerry or a story I had told him earlier. He usually doesn't remember it in the morning, but I never get tired of his late night antics.

5. He's an old man. Dating an older guy is always interesting. There are the movie references I just plain don't get (M, exasperated: "You mean you haven't seen Stripes? What about Christmas Vacation?"). Then there's the argument about what decade of music can be considered "Oldies" (for me it's the 70's and 80's for him it's the 50's). The gray hairs in his beard. The way he stretches when he wakes up in the morning. And the fact that every day M likes to remind me that he'll only get hotter with age.

6. M is forever surprising me. The other day he said I should buy fake bacon for a recipe. Sometimes he'll bring home chocolate (just when I'm about to run out). Another time he asked for a vegan recipe (this from a man who used to eat meat three times a day!). And last week he reminded me that we "really need to go to church. It's been a minute."

7. M comes with a never ending stream of "M-isms". The gas station on the corner? M calls it a "stop-and-rob." When he's flustered during Sunday worship: "I'm sweatin' like a whore in church." His colloquialisms always keep me laughing, even during church.

8. We all know that I'm as uptight as a "long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs" (See #7)... but M is exactly the opposite:

When making social plans: "Just tell me where to be and when to be there."

When discussing future (okay wedding related) details: "It's your show darlin'"

When deciding anything: "You're the boss, Boss"

It's not that I'm ever really in control. M gets as much of a say if not more than I do. But it's the illusion of control that M gives me. And really, that's all I need.

9. M is the common sense I lack. When it's a 100 degrees outside and I'm set on cooking homemade soup for dinner in our un air-conditioned apartment, M convinces me to go out for dinner. When I want to have 10 jobs and lead 3 church groups and work out every day for at least an hour, M reminds me to slow down and figure out what I really want. When I'm anxious about x,y,z M tells me that it will all work out, and it always does.

10. And best of all, M makes me laugh. All day long. Every. Single. Day.