Friday, June 19, 2015

Appreciation on Father's Day

Jeff and Isaac about 20 years ago in our little rented duplex, it was like yesterday!

I have taken my husband for granted before when it comes to being a support system for me as a mom.  

When I have been overwhelmed by new motherhood I have whined to myself,  "I do it all, I do all the work, I have to feed this baby, and get him to sleep, and all day long I am here doing the work all myself." Have you ever thought, "If they only knew?" If our husbands only knew how painful childbirth is, how draining it is being up night after night, nursing every two hours. If they only knew what it takes behind the scenes to plan this birthday party, fill out all these forms for school and co-ordinate all these little activities, to never have a planned lunch break, and have to meet demanding and sometimes draining needs of little ones day after day.  

But then he would go out of town.  And I couldn't sleep because I didn't feel protected and safe.  I couldn't hand a fussy baby off even for just 30 minutes to catch a breath in the evenings and I would remember how much just that short amount of time helps.  I would be reminded how good he was with the night time routine.  How when we had more than one or two or three, sometimes I could assuage my guilt of not spending time with each of them during busy days tending to everyone's needs because he would play games and read books and take them outside and really really be present.  

When we would have a chance to talk and he would tell me about the stresses at work I would be reminded that I wanted no part in that world, I would be filled with gratitude that the work I was doing was one hundred percent mine, was always meaningful and deep, was so much bigger than the petty ridiculous stuff he sometimes had to put up with to provide for us.  I thank my lucky stars that I haven't missed a day of my children's lives because of his willingness to provide for us, even if it has meant I sometimes eat crusts over the kitchen sink and don't get bathroom breaks.

When a teenager would have some issues, big or small, I have been so so grateful I have someone who has that child's best interest in mind,who adores them as much as I do-especially because I can get wrapped up in such an emotional perspective, (or maybe tend to overreact sometimes?) that I need and rely on that other perspective, whether it be more of a tough love approach, or a "let's take a step back" approach. When a teen has been angry with me for a decision I have made (because everyone else is allowed!) I have someone standing beside me when I am wearing down, or feeling upset about it, and I have learned that that support, that "I've got your back" support is so necessary during these years.  Sometimes I am too hard or too soft, and we balance each other.  I know this is what children need, it is what makes them whole, helps them grow, and feel stable.

I have learned to never ever take my husband for granted, to never take for granted how much these children of ours desperately need the father that he is. It takes us both to raise our family together- both of us committed to each other, committed to our children, providing for our family in different ways but in ways that meet the needs of all of us, both complimenting each other's strengths and weaknesses, both selflessly giving, giving, giving.  I could never be the mother I intend every day to be without him by my side-I could never ever do what I'm doing without him, never would I want to, I can't even imagine it.  His love and support for me as a mother is something I have learned in many years of parenting to appreciate deeply.