I don't say it enough, but I want to thank you.
During these crazy years of child rearing, too often we get caught up in the game of "Who has it harder?" Who is getting more sleep, who puts in the longer hours at work, who is burdened with more of the chores, who has more stress; it goes on and on. But I want you to know that I see you. I see how hard you work. I am grateful to you for going back to school, to give us a better life. I appreciate that you are supporting my decision to work from home, the same way you supported my choice to be a stay-at-home mom for so many years.
I know that I complain. I complain about never getting time for myself, that I am the only one who cleans up and keeps the kids on some kind of schedule. But I see your contributions, too. I see you get up with the kids on Saturday morning, so I can have one day to sleep in. I see you play with our boys in a way that I almost never do. I watch you tease them and roll my eyes, but I see your love for them; your love for me.
We never could have imagined how crazy this stage of life would be. During those college days of dating, when we had blissful amounts of freedom and were able to focus so much time and energy on each other and our relationship. We never could have known how hard those early months with a new baby would be, how the dramatic life changes and lack of sleep could sometimes bring out the worst in us. New parenthood also made me love you in an entirely different way. Seeing you cradle our newborn babies in your arms, I felt as though my heart might burst; I had never seen anything so simultaneously heartwarming and sexy.
There have been some hard times. We married and started our family young. I felt like I had to "grow up" before you did. Your frequent fishing trips that left me home with young kids led to resentment that drove a wedge between us, but we got past it. I learned to speak up and ask for more breaks and you happily gave them to me — showing me that you could manage our kids on your own just fine (even if you did things differently than I did). When I fell into the darkness of postpartum depression and didn't listen to you when you asked me to get some help, it was a dark time for both of us, but we made it through. Then there is this stage right now, this stage that is setting a record for us. Juggling work, your graduate program, three kids with individual needs, my newly diagnosed autoimmune disease, the fact that we hardly ever see each other anymore. It can be overwhelming.
Yet, we still make time for each other. And I'm so grateful for that.
Thank you for sending me texts and GIFs throughout the day; it helps me to feel connected to you. Thank you for taking me out for date nights when we can sneak away (as much as I love our Netflix nights, sometimes I just really need to get out of the house). Thank you for being an amazing dad to our boys; they know you're working so hard at your job and at school and are learning from your example. It melts my heart to see them taking on your sense of humor (and mine), as sarcasm and teasing become the norm around here. Every day we face challenges, but I couldn't love the family we've created any more.
So, I just wanted to take a moment our of our busy lives to say thank you for riding out this crazy time of life with me. It's so much harder (and better) than I ever could have imagined and there is no one else I would rather have by my side. I don't know what curveballs life will throw at us next, but I do know that we make a great team.