Being a mom is hard. Like, really hard. Worthwhile and joyous and life changing, yes. But hard nonetheless.
Being a dad is hard too, damnit. My husband has been working extra hard lately, and he deserves to know how appreciated and loved he is, so I wanted to write this just in time for Valentines Day.
A little backstory: Isaac and I met in high school, I was a freshman and dating his best friend. We were on-again-off-again until we decided that resistance was useless, and married in 2008. Since Kid #1 made his debut, our lives have been a beautiful chaotic swirl. Now we sit surrounded by half-full sippy cups, Hot Wheels being batted around by the cat, and burp cloths on every table.
I still love this man. Hell, I love him more now than ever. And nothing screams “jackpot” more than watching him with our children. He is patient, fair, and already has mastered dad jokes. But we never get time to sit and gaze into each other’s eyes, talking peacefully and admiring one another. So, I want to write him a letter.
I love you. Really really love you. I feel like now I only get to tell you that either with Post-It notes in your lunch, or while passing each other in the kitchen. But I never want our marriage to become mundane and routine. Once the kids are grown and gone, it’s back to just you and I babe.
I appreciate you. You work so hard so the babies and I can stay at home, which we know is what’s best. But you carry the burden of breadwinner on your shoulders, and have such an intense duty to provide for our family. I can’t help but think of the pressure it puts on you, and how it must feel to persevere through all that. The early morning alarms, driving in the dark, not having any downtime during the day and then driving home exhausted. And then you help me at home. I am not blind to all this.
I admire you. I could never have anticipated the type of father you’d become, but I love watching you with our kids. Gabriel adores you – Daddy is synonymous with fun, play, trying new things. You teach him and encourage him and inspire him. He looks up to you, and rightfully so. His father has so much ingenuity and creativity.
But that’s not all our son is learning. By watching you every day, he is learning how a real man should behave. You’re teaching him that it’s ok to be mad, or upset, and cry sometimes. We should always tell the truth, and help others around us. Pink is ok, and so is messy hair and mismatched socks. We should pick up our messes and say “thank you” and be gentle to animals. He is learning that you stand by your word – toy jail is a very real thing, and when you tell him to pick Legos up, you mean it!
Most importantly, he’s learning how to treat others. Particularly women.
Since his birth, you’ve been modeling how to treat women by how you treat me. You speak to me with respect, as an equal; you are never violent and never raise your voice; you are affectionate and helpful and considerate. Gabriel is watching and storing all that away for when he’s older. You are his example.
And for our daughter, you exemplify how she should be treated by everyone, especially men. You are the first man she will ever know and remember. She needs to have high expectations. And you ensure that she will. She has value, she is important and special and worth waiting for. She will not settle.
I thank you. For coming home after 10+ hour days, and stepping right in to change a diaper or take out the trash. It feels like neither of us ever get a break, but my life would be a lot harder without your enthusiastic help. I just ask that you see what I need help with, before diving in. Since I stay at home now, our house is my office too, and your good intentions sometimes cause more harm than good. Don’t be afraid to just ask me “what can I do to help?” I promise I’ll be honest. Usually I just want you to hold your daughter and play with your son. They miss and love you so.
And so do I.
I know our love life has been changed with kids sleeping in our bed, but that just means we have to be creative. The children will be fine if we smooch in the kitchen for 30 seconds, or hold hands in the playroom. I never want to go a day without a kiss. We aren’t roommates, we’re husband and wife. Our love is what brought these tiny humans into being. A little affection will go a long way these days. Let’s both promise to be better to each other. Same team.
I love you – my knight, my favorite, my best friend.
Your #1 fan, the wife