The Thing About You

The thing about parenting is, nothing can prepare you to become a parent. People give you ALL the advice. Advice about pregnancy, advice about birth, advice about babies and advice about children. You read the books and the blogs, you do your best to ask the “right” questions and notice the right things, but, nothing can truly get you ready.

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I remember when we found out we were pregnant like it was yesterday. I knew something was different, so after work, I went to buy a test, and waited for you to get home. I just knew it would be negative. I set a 3 minute timer on my phone and before a minute had even passed, I saw the word… Pregnant.

I ran back to the den and I couldn’t even get the words out. You saw the test and we both started crying. We knew our lives would never, ever be the same.

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For a while, it was just our little secret. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, but we made a promise to one another to keep it between us as long as we could.

I remember one night after dinner we went to WalMart and we went down the carseat aisle — strictly out of curiosity — but the whole time we were looking over our shoulders to make sure no one saw us.

It was so hard to keep it a secret, but looking back I’m so thankful for that special time.

The thing about pregnancy, is it goes by so fast — and at the same time, it lasts for 3 years.

But, pregnancy really was so kind to me. I enjoyed every minute. (Until my lips swelled and I looked like I got bad lip injections , but whatever) And you were so good to me, too. Every craving, weird mood, and nesting project - you were there. And with a smile on your face most of the time! You helped me create the perfect nursery for our future son, went to every doctor’s appointment and stood strong with me when everyone in our lives wanted us to find out our baby’s gender : ) You made me feel confident in myself as a mother when I was feeling insecure, and helped me see the meaning during the seemingly mundane moments of pregnancy. It was such a special few months. I really do miss it sometimes!

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I love this picture. Most people don’t know about all the moments that lead up to this. From timing my contractions on the couch, to waking up at 3:00AM when my water broke… To going to get us Bojangle’s on the way to the hospital and yelling at the drive thru lady “We’re going to have a baby!”

… And then came the decision by our midwife to move forward with a c-section. I know how scared you were in this moment. But you stayed strong for me and our boy.

You held my hand through my surgery, and prayed and sang over me during the chaos in the recovery room. I have never felt love like I did in those moments. They were some of the most terrifying moments of my life, but also some of the most meaningful.

The thing about giving birth is, it’s anything but glamorous. I was so sore and drowsy from my surgery, you had to do everything. Every diaper, every bottle, every middle of the night wake up. I knew you were exhausted in every way, and I was helpless to do anything about it. You helped me get in and out of the bed, go to the bathroom, take a shower, and even eat. And you never complained.
You never snapped at me or blamed me. You never got outwardly frustrated with me or Bryant — even though I know you had to be ready to shake both of us in your mind.

Looking back, I know they weren’t fun. I know they were long, hard, and exhausting. But I wouldn’t change a thing about them.
I realized how much you loved me, and how much you loved Bryant from the moment he came into the world.
You took the role of husband and father so seriously, and in turn made me better.
Growing up, I never had dreams of being a wife or even a mother. I just knew that’s what I was supposed to do.
But you made me realize that dreams I didn’t even know I had were coming true.

The thing about coming home is, all bets are off. No more nurses, no more doctors and no more visitors.
It was just you and me and baby makes three.

I think as I get older and reflect on the past, some of the most significant days of our life together will be the weeks after we got home from the hospital. I struggled so badly with post-partum anxiety. They were truly some of the most trying times of my short life. I felt trapped, I felt alone, and I felt like I would never be myself again. But you were right there through every moment.

You listened to me cry, talked me out of wanting to drive myself to a mental hospital (more than once) and constantly encouraged me in my new role as a mother. As tired as you were, on top of starting a new job TWO WEEKS before Bryant was born, you never once complained to me or about me. And an even more significant moment for me was when you completely supported my decision to talk to my doctor about medication. I believe a lot of women are hesitant about this because they are afraid of the judgement or stigma regarding anti-depressants, even from their spouses... But you never made me feel silly or crazy or like I was bad mom for needing a little extra help to make it. I’m reminded daily that this was the right choice for our family. And I will always credit you for giving me the final boost I needed to take that step.

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But, that’s the thing about you.

You know. You see. You pay attention.

You recognize the things that make me me. You are committed to me. You put me first.

You are loving

You are kind.

You are good.

And I truly cannot imagine a better man for Bryant to look up to as a father.

I hope he sees your quiet strength. I hope he learns that you don’t talk much, but when you do, he should listen.

I hope he gets your patience, your wisdom and your steadfast heart.

I hope he learns to love and care for the people in his life the way you do.

He’s got big shoes to fill.

Happy Father’s Day, B.

I love you.