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You turn 33 today. I have loved you for ten of those years. I remember the moment I knew you were different. I lived in a tiny yellow house. We were new. You had not moved in yet. Saylor Jade was only five months old. I was figuring out the world as a single mother. I was angry to my bones, and not looking for forever. Just looking for a little fun.

One morning, I woke up to the sound of snow being shoveled. The day was barely breaking. A winter sun sneaking over the tree line. Kind of alarmed by the noise, I peered outside. And it was you. Shoveling my driveway.

You see, the week earlier I had shown you a video of Saylor, sitting in her highchair eating snow in my driveway, while I shoveled. She was happy to be outside. And I was so grateful to have a place of my own for us, that I wasn’t even mad about shoveling snow at the crack ass of dawn.

I never shoveled my driveway again. Without being asked, you did it. Every single time. It didn’t matter if you were going snowboarding with the guys, had class, or work. You’d show up before the sun came up, to do what needed to be done. For me. For Saylor. Sometimes, you’d be done and gone before we even woke up, but I’d start my day knowing I wasn’t alone. What a gift that was. Young me needed that silent reminder more than you will ever know.

This morning on your 33rd birthday, I’m watching you sleep, as I write this. You’re snuggled up with our youngest girl. Both sleeping in the same positions; copy and paste. The little yellow house feels like a lifetime ago. We have been through so much in a decade. Both of us learning to trust ourselves, and each other in a society that makes it nearly impossible for young parents to thrive.

One thing has stayed the same. You. Being. There. For me, and for the three beautiful little souls we’re raising. Our house has wheels now, so there is no shoveling snow, but you’re still showing up. Giving me exactly what I need, even when I’m too stubborn to ask.

Happy Birthday, Babe. I am so lucky to get to celebrate another trip around the sun with you. Thank you for loving me unconditionally.

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