The Belated Valentine

Yes, I realize that today is Presidents' Day and on this day we SHOULD honor the men who lead our country and acknowledge their achievements.  However, I feel compelled to write this today (while I actually have an opportunity to do so), as a belated valentine to my husband.

When we met and got married, I did not envision the path our family life took.  I never thought that I would be the family provider and that he would be a stay at home dad.  This wasn't necessarily by choice; it was by circumstance and working within our situation that our family evolved.  It is not always one that I am happy with, but it is one that works for us.  That is what is important.

I may (and do!) complain about our situation.  I'm not always comfortable with having to be the one to financially support this family of three.  I'm not happy that he doesn't do "EVERYTHING" that I would like him to do around the house.  I wish there were things that he could or would do.  However, if I look at things from a more objective point of view (and that's not always easy to do), I can see all the tasks that he does that aren't visible.  And these are the ones that are the most important to our family's well being.  Perhaps it's time I recognize that.  (Maybe if I do, the next time I get angry or frustrated over something I can look back at this post and remind myself that there is MUCH more to his contribution to our family than meets the eye.)

Many times I feel like I do more of the household chores.  If I'm honest with myself that's probably not true.  It just feels that way while I dust and scrub in the bathroom.  Meanwhile he vacuums when I am not around.  He runs the dishwasher and does dishes.  (He's much better at both than I am.)  We split the laundry duties, but when it comes to making the bed, he is THE man.  In our life together, I HAVE made our bed, but I freely admit that I do a lousy job of it and he gets those sheets on there and they stay!  (I'm not sure what the secret to that is and I'm not sure that I want to know.)  We split the cooking.  I have my specialties (pot roast) and he has his (tuna noodle casserole).  His best talent in the kitchen is with the coffee machine.  The man makes a great pot of coffee.  I know how to make coffee, but he really makes it.  He says he can show me what he does, but let's face it there is a special kind of magic that goes into making good coffee.  I'm not going to mess with that magic. (Just like he should never try to mess with my pot roast or my special coleslaw).

When we wanted to have a family, our intention was not for him to be the stay at home dad.  That is however, how life turned out.  He didn't think he would be good at it.  I KNEW he would.  When our son was born, knowing that he would be the one who would be at home, I foisted the responsibilities of caring for a child on him immediately.  I was hands off and made him change diapers.  He was responsible for the long and arduous task of potty training.  (Something that took YEARS to achieve; to this day I think he might deserve a medal for it.)  He walked our son to pre-school and to elementary school.  He was (and is) homework dad.  (Although both of us are smart enough to know when a subject is out of our realm and we get outside help.)

More recently, he's been thrust into the world of teenage angst and issues.  Circumstances prevented me from be a part of some of the conversation.  He has handled it like a pro.  (Maybe he should rent himself out as an expert in speaking with teen boys?)  He has been faced with discussing sensitive and uncomfortable issues and he has done it with grace.  He has shown a wisdom that I never knew he had.  He has bounded our trio together and I'd like to believe has made us closer.  Even more important he has managed to establish a family dialogue.  (Not easy with ANY teen.)  We have had some rough patches over the past several weeks (maybe longer?) but I truly believe that we are coming out of this stronger because of my husband's parenting skills.  

But that might not be strong enough.  It is not just his parenting skills, it is his talent to listen with compassion and to be logical that make him an extraordinary father and husband.    Not extraordinary in a way that is showy and will win him any medals, but in a more important way.  A way that goes unnoticed and unlauded as our family continues on this path called life.  It's a path of ups and down, but I know within my heart of hearts that it wouldn't be as smooth without him.  He provides the glue that holds us together when we crack and start to fall apart.

Happy Presidents' Day and belated Valentine's to a man who is my crazy glue.  Life is a crazy ride; thank you for being crazy with me, but also steering the sanity when needed.


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