I Love You Geraldine. Happy Birthday.

Dear Geraldine,

For the last 10 years and 9 months, you’ve been the best thing in my life. We’ve been through a bunch of tough times together and some amazingly good ones, too. And for the past 3 and a half years, you’ve been writing a love letter to me (that’s turned into much more than that). Today, I wanted to write one to you.

(on our wedding day, 4 years ago next Friday)

Since I’m nowhere near the writer you are, I’m going to try an alternate take on the process and try to answer a question you often ask me: “Rand, why do you love me?”

#1: You fill the missing hole in my chest.

You’ve probably seen this comic before. In fact, I think you probably showed it to me.

(via Dresden Codak)

I don’t run against the wind and I didn’t leave mine alone. I just keep you next to me. Before we started dating, that hole ached all the time and now it doesn’t.

#2: You always listen to me.

Even when I’m being crazy or silly or childish or emotional or dead wrong or some horrifying combination of all of those, you listen. And no matter how weird or boring what I have to say is, you care about it and you want to make things better. I don’t think very many people get to say that about their spouse.

#3: You never pass judgment on me or my actions.

To you, I’m somehow perfect and infallible, and to me, I’m a constant underachiever who’s always falling behind. It’s remarkable to feel that sense that nothing I do will ever not be good enough to you.

#4: You take my side no matter what.

If I think someone else might be wrong, you think there’s never been anyone more wrong about anything in human history. Whatever criticism I receive is automatically unfounded. Your love for me blinds you (at least for the first few hours after you find out about it). I love your loyalty. It makes me feel like I always have an advocate.

#5: You push me to be happier.

It’s not my success, professional or financial or through notoriety that you care about – it’s my happiness. You let me move in and live with you when there was no horizon for my company. You paid the rent when I couldn’t. You let me borrow your car to go hiking with Matt (since we were just going into debt at work anyway) while you went to a shitty job so we could cover the bills. And all those times, you just wanted me to be happy. When SEOmoz finally started to take off, and it finally did make me happy, you never (well, almost never 🙂 ) complained about the 80 hours weeks or the time I didn’t have for you, not because it didn’t suck, but because you wanted me to be happy.

#6: You take care of the million things I never would.

Somehow, the soap next to my side of the sink always gets refilled. Somehow, beautifully written cards to my grandparents appear next to my desk. Somehow, birthday presents for friends are remembered, and calendar appointments are made, and contact lens fluid gets put in my travel bag, and clothes get clean, and… well, everything in my life is taken care of so I can focus a ludicrous amount of time on work. I’m sorry for that. I know I’m obsessive about Moz.

#7: You are the funniest person I know.

You tell me jokes and stories and make me watch things on the Internet. Then, you smile and laugh like nothing’s ever been wrong. And you make me smile and laugh like nothing ever will be.

#8: You are my connection to other people.

When I come home from work, you’re what brings me back to the real world where people have lives outside of the Internet. You remember people’s names and you tell me “honey, you remember so-and-so from such-and-such” so I don’t look like an idiot for having a terrible memory. I think I once described you as being my Facebook stream – through you, I get to learn about all the important things in our friends and families’ lives. It’s the experiences we’ve built together that make me relatable to people who don’t care about SEO or startups or EC2 instances or venture capital. I’m so thankful for the reality you bring to my life.

#9: You make me remember all the things I’d forget.

My memory is like a sieve, but yours is a steel trap. And through your blog and your photos and your stories, you bring all the wonderful experiences we’ve had back through the colander holes of my conscious.

#10: You’ve always been the best partner in crime a guy like me could hope for on our many adventures:

(in Boston on the duck tour)

(in Keystone, CO out back of Brad & Amy’s)

(at Crater Lake in Oregon)

(in the streets of Barcelona)

(at Macchu Pichu in Peru)

(on top of my brother’s apartment building in Brooklyn)

(on the streets of downtown Madrid)

(on London’s Millennium Bridge)

(at the pavilion on the hill in Tucherpark, Munich)

(at the Tulip Festival in La Conner, WA)

(on top of Kite Hill at Gasworks Park in Seattle)

(out back of Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point, OR)

(in New York’s Bryant Park at Christmas)

(at Las Vegas’ Neon Boneyard)

(in color at Facebook’s Menlo Park offices)

You know the most amazing part, KTL? We’ve visited all those places in just the last year. Can you imagine what the next 5 will bring?! I’m so lucky, and so happy, that I get to share them with you.

Those ten reasons above barely scratch the surface, but since we’ve got lots of birthdays ahead together, I’ll try to take it one chunk at a time.

I love you Geraldine. Happy Birthday.