Happy 5 year anniversary, my beloved Clayton.

This pandemic has made one thing abundantly clear amidst all the chaos- I want you on my team, forever and always. I feel fortified by your love, capable of things I never thought possible, seen in ways I was insistent on hiding in shadows.

Thank you for being my partner in adventure, low-key mischief, queering the fuck out of this world and our lives, new-world-imagining and new-world-building, bad puns, open sorcery, radical parenting, and so much more. I have so much fucking fun with you! Every day brings something new to discuss and unpack (ok ok, and a lot of old stuff that we each tend to churn on, but I don’t mind tbh).

Thank you for validating the way I love, you, the kids, our families, other people in my life, the world. Thank you for allowing me to love you. I know it isn’t always easy. I love having you on this journey with me as I learn to value my own ways of showing care and, at the same time, holding me accountable for my impact. You hold my paradoxes with grace and rigor and for that I am grateful.

Thank you for often knowing what I need before I think to ask for it. All the early morning breakfasts, hugs, silliness, asking how I’m feeling about something. You make me feel like I’m worthy of being taken care of, full stop, no conditions. I’ve never fully trusted a partner to show up for me in this way, but you just effortlessly showed up and continue to do so. I appreciate that.

Thank you for doing your best to take care of yourself, your needs, your desires, your boundaries, and supporting me to do the same. We’re by far not perfect at this, but the trying is what matters most to me.

One of the things I love most about our love is the way we approach challenges as a team. You have taught me so much about trust and the power of collective action – even when things are hard between us I feel like we both try to find resolution that heals and moves things forward, instead of getting stuck on the past, or the pain, or antagonizing the other person. It is such a blessing having you in my corner, even when we’re mad at each other.

Thank you for teaching me that failure is part of life and not a reflection of my worthiness, intelligence, or potential. It’s so great to have your perspective on things that could easily result in self-flagellation and ultimately self-sabotage and missed opportunities.

I want to spend my life supporting you, being supported by you, growing, learning, winning, failing, flying, and falling by your side. I want to comfort you when it’s hard to find hope, be your cheerleader when you need an extra push, help you see different perspectives when you get stuck in a loop.

I’ll end with a quote from one of my favorite love stories, “Still Life with Woodpecker”. I knew it was a good omen when I found you a copy of this book on the shelf of the Half Price Bookstore across from your hotel that fateful weekend when we first fell in love.

Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.

Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

Thanks for 5 incredible years, my love. Here’s to 500 more.

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