To my dear husband: I see you.
I know that’s a strange line to start this Father’s Day letter with because of course, I see you. I have my sight and I live in the same house as you, so I see you every day. But I don’t mean that I see you in the typical sense, I mean that I see you.
It’s important to me to remind you of this because this Father’s Day, like most of our days, won’t be about you.
This year, our oldest daughter’s birthday and our sixth wedding anniversary also fall on the same Sunday as what’s supposed to be your day. While you should be sleeping in and surviving the zombie apocalypse on the PlayStation to your heart’s content, you’ll be helping me prep for the (very small due to COVID) birthday party we’re throwing. You’ll be managing the baby and the toddler with the big feelings while I attempt to make a cake way beyond my skill set. You will make sure everyone’s needs get met before your own like you do all too often. Instead of eating cinnamon rolls during a leisurely Father’s Day breakfast, you’ll be scrubbing toilets and wiping butts. And you will do it with a smile like you always do. Because that’s who you are, and I see that.
I saw you four years ago, as we struggled to get and stay pregnant and were about to experience yet another in a string of losses. You carried me through immense sadness and fear while managing your own grief. When my eternal flame of optimism that makes me, “me” went out, you quite literally picked me up off the floor and got me hopeful enough to try again. We wouldn’t have either of our children if it weren’t for your encouragement and bravery during that time.
Even before we had children in our arms, I knew, because of how you handled the challenges of our infertility journey, that I would never struggle alone with the challenges of parenthood.
When I was pregnant, you stocked up on chicken soup and lemonade because that was all I could eat. When people fawned over me and the coming babies, you stepped back and let the spotlight shine on me. It should have been on you too. These are our babies, and I couldn’t do any of it without you. You deserve to be celebrated and in the spotlight, too.
I saw you as I labored through two intense deliveries, both of which got scary and complicated at the end. When my epidural failed and I didn’t think I could go on, you gave me strength and support. When I went into labor with our second child right as you got home from yet another 12-hour shift on far too little sleep, you stayed awake by my side, vigilant and encouraging. You didn’t laugh at the ungodly animal noises that came out of me or when I pooped on the table. Thank you for that.
As I worked through postpartum depression, not once, but twice now, you were the constant I needed. You never mentioned my unwashed hair or recycling of the same leggings for days. You held me when I asked and gave me space when I needed it. You pushed me to seek out friends when I needed that, too. Your patience and gentleness with my heart are unparalleled.
You are the most perfect father to our girls.
You are patient, kind, and playful. You get burps out of a baby better than anyone. You are their most favorite person on this earth. They like you the most and I’m just fine with it. You’ve earned it. You’ve earned far more than the Father’s Day you’re getting this year.
I love that you are a great example to our girls of how a person treats their partner, and how men can be feminists, too. I love that you let our toddler give you sparkly toes with nail polish, and then don’t take it off. I have always said that you inspire me to do and be better. Watching you parent and teach our children to be kind and courageous little humans is the greatest inspiration yet.
I know you let me win arguments I definitely shouldn’t win. You are patient when I am convinced I am in the right and let me arrive at a different conclusion on my own.
You come home each day and immediately shower and change your clothes to protect our family during the pandemic. I see you then jump directly into parenting mode after yet another long day. I’m sure what you want is sleep, but you make sure I never have to do it alone for any longer than necessary.
And as I write this, you are going to bed far too late before another 2:00 a.m. wake up for work, because you insisted I not do our girls’ bedtimes alone.
So on this Father’s Day, when your celebration will likely feel lost in the shuffle, know that I appreciate all you do to keep everyone in our little family happy and taken care of. I don’t say it often enough, but none of it goes unnoticed.
I see all of it. I see you.
Consider this an IOU for some uninterrupted couch time and a nap. Maybe next year.