Before you were their father you were my husband. I married you for many reasons, and as our family has grown, that number has grown. So I want you to know sixteen years and five children later, I love you more than ever.
There are the little things, like the day I realized why you were consistently out-stepping me with your FitBit. It wasn’t because you had taken the time to exercise; it was because you were folding a houseful of clothes while you let me exercise. Or the weekend projects that were only supposed to take an hour … but when they were finally complete the entire day had passed. There has rarely been a time you didn’t put our needs first, even if my idea of a “need” was just a crazy idea.
And then there are the big things, like how you have nursed me through knee surgery, four baby deliveries and one miscarriage. You found me on the bathroom floor when our first son was only a few weeks old, in a puddle of tears, and instead of judging me you insisted I call the doctor and get help. Hell, you may have even dialed the number. You were never afraid of having to care for a post-partum wife and a baby … you just did it.
You’ve changed hundreds of diapers, taken the boys to the bathroom in just as many restaurants so I could finish my meal, and taught them how to clear the dinner table. You helped me take unpaid leave so I could stay home with the babies longer and even then when I needed a break from the newborn crying you came home to let me take a nap. When you thought budget cuts were coming, you went back to school so you could be sure you had another career option – and even as you studied late at night you never let us see you worry.
You exposed us to Alabama Shakes and the Foo Fighters before they were cool, and have made sure the boys know words to songs by The Beatles and AC/DC. Alexander Hamilton is now a well-known face in our house, not because of the $10 dollar bill, but because of the soundtrack you have helped us all memorize. You’ve always insisted on taking the back roads, and telling stories along the way. You want our children to be well-rounded, through a love of music, museums and plain ol’ interesting side trips.
The ball field, bleachers and sidelines have become your best friend. You’ve helped coach, cheer and keep score in scorching heat and the cold rain. You have fed their passion to play, and shared your love of the games by taking them to sporting events, talking statistics and teaching them the history of the sports and their players. Most importantly you have taught our boys to be gracious winners and losers.
As a life-long Methodist you married a good ol’ Catholic girl, and have always made sure our boys made it to church and catechism, even when I was away. You have calmed me when others have questioned the faith in which the boys are being raised, and allowed me to vent (and sometimes cry) when I felt those questioning me had crossed the line. You have taught our sons through your example how to love others from different faiths and cultures, and have showered them with lessons of inclusion vs exclusion.
You’ve showed our boys that it’s okay for a husband and father to help clear the Thanksgiving table instead of running for the couch and football game. You’ve showed the boys it’s ok for a wife and mother to have a profession and passions outside of the home. You’ve showed our boys how to protect the women in their lives, through some of the simplest actions.
You’ve watched me lose 100 pounds and gain it back (twice). You’ve hugged my pregnant belly, listen to me lament the scars and sags from childbirth, and told me I was beautiful … all the time. You’ve let me be high maintenance and didn’t even complain when I came home with a tattoo. You’ve shown our boys how to love a woman for what’s on the inside and outside.
As you knelt down to wipe the face of one of the twins today I caught my breath, and had that same feeling I had years ago when I realized you were “the one.” You continue to be the man I want to live my life with, and you continue to be the man I want our boys to become. So thank you for being their father, but most importantly thank you for being my husband.
Happy Father’s Day,