Today, baby, you turn 32.

I like to think that you are reading back on this in 15 years when our kids have grown and we have a quiet, empty house. That seems so far fetched and out of reach, but I know it is right around the corner of this crazy life.

Our world is chaotic right now. We are chasing babies, changing diapers, growing businesses, and spread thin…but I know one thing for sure: we are full of joy. Our home is filled with laughter, screams, constantly breaking appliances, and black dog hair…..everywhere. At the end of the day we kick our feet up, wine in hand, and relish in the quiet. But, one day we will yearn for these foot steps and giggles and messy finger printed walls again.

Your 31st year was filled with so many emotions. Our final and last little baby turned one this year…our last 1st birthday. We stuck a candle in her pancake that morning and called it a “birthday party,” remember? We had nearly forgotten until my mom reminded us and we pretended we knew all along.

Our oldest daughter has swapped out her naked hair-chopped Barbies for coding games. Her afternoons filled with stuffed animals, crayons and paints have been replaced with her newest best friend, Sophia, scribbling away notes and chatting about school.

Our son is more intelligent than any kid we know. He’s growing up to be so loving and charming just like you….yet apparently gets in trouble for saying things like “vagina” on the school bus. (He’s got 3 sisters and is anatomically correct, what can we say.) Remember when he used to say “vroom vroom” every time we got in the car? That was his only words for so long.

Solo is 3 and, it seems, was just brought home from the hospital in her tiny white swaddle blanket, and now she begs to ride her bike with the older kids next door. She used to cry when we walked out of the room in our own home and now she can’t get into her preschool class fast enough, forgetting to say bye everyday.

This is our final year in this home that has built us. We moved here promising ourselves we were only going to stay for 2 years and it has been almost 5. Remember when we drove past it the first time? We thought the roof was a week away from caving in, yet in the same breath decided we had never seen a more beautiful house and I cried the day we signed the paperwork that made it ours. We had just found out we were pregnant with Solo. These walls have seen so much, they could tell so many stories. The green stain on the ceiling from 5 year old Londons slime will be painted over before it sells again.

Life is flying by, babe. I’m trying to hold my eyelids open for every second so I don’t miss a thing, but there’s something about a birthday that brings me spiraling back.

In this last year, as every other year, you have been our rock, our stable and emotional support. You have kissed a 1000 boo-boo’s. You have given hundreds of piggyback rides to bed. You have read 1 million night time stories. You have been more patient than I can ever imagine as we navigate new territory in our life. You have held us when we cried. You have danced with every single one of us in this tiny kitchen. And you have forced me to skip in parking lots when I’m mad. This year, you survived me having the flu for 10 days while we had a newborn. You had the best year, Mark.

You have shown me what it’s like to have a partner. An equal. Someone who compliments my strengths. You are doing big things. baby. Your 32nd year is going to be filled with love and joy and triumphs. But, I want to sit here and recognize your 31st year as being one for the books.

When we were dating, I used to ask you to visualize with me. We would sit and daydream and visualize our life together. We would talk about the house we would live in, our garden, our children, and our careers. We would set imaginary goals. (One time you told me if we worked hard enough, we could own our own massage studio and I laughed and thought you were insane. That was the night we rescued Machine Gun from that playground and took him home. He hasn’t stopped meowing since.)

Those visualizations have nothing on our real life. You rock my world.I wish somehow I could go back and spend more of your 31 years with you. I can’t wait to see what #32 brings. And 33. And 43. And 53. And 63. And 103. Mark, I love you so much it hurts!

Happy Birthday, Pike Daddy

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