Usually, on Thursdays, I post manifestos, love-letters to the season, but today, my Jay's birthday, I want to post a little manifesto for him.

I'm often asked “What's a Blonde Chicken? Where'd that name come from?“.  It's an adorable little story, so be forewarned: Cuteness lies ahead.

Jay has a huge family. Over 15 aunts and uncles (not counting their spouses, their children and their spouses). Huge. One day they all came to our college campus for a big family thing for Poppa, the family patriarch.

Jay and I had been dating…maybe 2 months? And he wanted me to meet the family.

When it came time to meet Poppa, I leaned down (he was in a wheelchair), gave him a “kiss on the jaw” and moved on. I might have said “Hi, Nice to meet you”. Maybe.

Jay was behind me and Poppa grabbed him and said:

“Don't let go of that blonde chicken!”

As a proper young feminist, I was appropriately disgusted with the nickname.

Jay and Tara

Of course, Jay used it to relentlessly tease me.

Months passed, Poppa passed away and Jay kept calling me his Blonde Chicken.

We fell deeper in love, graduated, got married, got jobs and when I started to think about maybe, sorta opening a business, Jay insisted that I should do it.

When I faultered for a name, Jay offered up “Blonde Chicken”.

When I doubted that I could really, truly put all the parts of a business together, Jay insisted.

When I considered quitting my day job, Jay insisted.

At every step, at every opportunity for me to turn back, Jay's had my back, insisting I could do the Thing.

And for him, it isn't even a big deal. It's just the Thing, Tara's Thing She Needs To Do.

He's just quietly certain I can do it. No big pep rallies (even when I thought I wanted one), no big deal. I can do it. Period.

Today, on his 27th birthday, here, in this space he's helped to create,  I just wanted to acknowledge his insistence, and to thank him for not letting go of this blonde chicken.

(PS. The real tragedy – Jay's red/green colorblind. I work with color all day and he can't even enjoy my current favorite color, an enchantingly juicy Cherry)