To the man I wrangled back when he was young; back before there was diapers and spit up and toy train fun.
May you know on this day of holiday Thanksgiving, you are the one who makes this life worth living.
My husband is an incredible father. He is of a variety that I have to come to realize is so precious and rare. I wish I could take more credit for wisely vetting for his fine paternal qualities, but if I’m honest I was probably more concerned with how he filled out a pair of wranglers. I was a child that was lucky enough to have be raised by an incredible father. Being so loved instilled in me an early appreciation for men with tender hearts. It takes a man who can truly humble himself to kneel down and play with his children at their level. It is such a gift to our children… and to me.
From the moment my husband walks in the door, no matter how long his day or how weary he feels, he dons his “Daddy Hat” and leaves all his burdens at the door. There is no man alive who builds more elaborate train tracks than he. He constructs pillowed walls of doom for epic tickle battles, leads dragon hunts in our woods, and gives tractor rides until the gas tank literally runs dry. His commitment to play is inspiring and contagious. I wonder if I would have been the same mother without his example.
But his commitment is more than just to the good times… the easy times. He is there for dirty diapers, tubby time, runny noses, and sleepless nights. He has made more than one meal while I struggle with whiney toddlers clinging to my feet. He picks up toys and folds little pink socks. He wipes out bibs and empties diaper genies. He is there with me for every tedious mind-numbing step of raising small children. I never have to ask. I turn and he is there with outstretched arms.
There are days when parenting is so earth shatteringly hard that I fear I may loose myself. On the days when I feel the dingy smell of failure wafting from my clothes and I am one step from walking out the door and never coming back, he is there without judgment. There is no condemnation for falling short. When our eyes meet across a table of crying babies, our fractured conversation trumped by little people whose needs always seem to come first, I know I am gazing at a compatriot. We can smile, or cry and know we are part of the same team. He knows I have days when I can resent the trials of parenthood. He knows because he has those feeling too. He is my partner, bolstering me when I am weak.
We do it for each other and for these two little people who have blown up our world and defined it all at the same time. We can commiserate in the hardship because we are the two people in this world who love our kids with the same blazing fire. They are ours and we belong to each other.
I am grateful for the man I married because of how he treats me. He is my friend, my lover, and my number one fan. His belief in me; pushes me to chase my dreams with uninhibited abandon, both arms outstretched. He makes me laugh and shows me he loves me in big ways and small. I love the way he respects me so my daughter may grow up with a bone deep certainty of her own worth and expectations for her future partner. We share dreams and hidden moments snuggled in the quiet cocoon of our marriage bed during our few hours of respite while our babies sleep. It has become some of my most treasured time; it is our time. It is when we remember there was an us before there was a family.
I am so grateful for this man who leads our family while walking through this life shoulder to shoulder with me. I am so thankful for this man who inspires me to be a better person. I am thankful he is mine and I only have to share him with the two little people I love most in the world.