It’s so funny how this has worked out. We never meant for any of this to happen, and it did. It’s the 8th birthday of yours’ that we’re celebrating together I think. So roundabout 95 months that we’ve been together. And 72 of those 95 months we’ve spent being parents, raising first just one kid and now TWO. I never stop and ask myself “how did this happen?” because we both know how it happened. But also because, I’m usually thanking my lucky stars that things have worked out the way they did. I know you disagree with the idea of a Higher Power or the Universe “smiling” down at us, but honestly- if anything is proof to me that there is some sort of Bigger Thing Out There, you are that to me. Otherwise, how did I get so lucky, so many times in a row?
I’m not very good at explaining things anymore. We’re both tired. Our days are fueled by exhaustion and caffeine and a whiteboard calendar that changes weekly. We’re driven by the same things all families are driven by I assume: soccer practices, bills to pay, mouths to feed, baths to give, fun needs to be had, things need to get done. But through it all I love laughing and living with you. But, since it’s your birthday I want to try and explain to you – maybe just brush the surface– of how I feel about you.
I love you the way in a way that I never expected to love anyone. It’s not the kind of romantic love that feels like unexpected flowers and sappy pop songs, or slow dances in school cafeterias. It started with butterflies and uncertainty, sure- but that all changes eventually. However, you are so handsome that you still take my breath away sometimes.
I know I am not always the kind of partner I should be, but I want to admit that publicly, and then work harder at getting better. I want you to be as happy as I am, at least. I want to keep laughing at you, with you, at our kids, at our life, at everything. I want to keep getting close to you on the couch once a month when I feel the need to snuggle, until it gets annoying and we go off to our separate corners.
I want to work hard at loving you.
I want to keep going, I want to be good to you.
But the best part about this feeling, this drive to want to improve us, is knowing that you put forth that effort too. I so appreciate that about you.
Is it perfect? Of course not! We have days when things are muttered under our breath. We have bad mornings sometimes. And I KNOW you wonder why I never empty the diaper pail, just like I wonder why you never empty the dishwasher.
I want to listen to you more. I want to put my phone down. I want to look at you across our new kitchen table, drink gin and gingers and talk about the epic failures of modern society and culture. I want to give you the space you need when you need a break. I want to be someone you look forward to seeing each day, as I look forward to seeing you. I want us to continue stopping in the middle of what we’re doing to hug, touch, connect- prompting the boys to look at us like, “What are you guys doing?”.
I am not in love with you in the way that I expected to be in love with a husband, if I ever imagined having one. I am in love with you in a way that is so far beyond that.
Sure I take you for granted. I probably take advantage of your willingness to stay home and watch the kids too often. I stomp around when dirty dishes are in the sink or when the clean dishes are STILL in the dishwasher.
I cook the same meals all the time. They’re “too tomatoe-y” or “too bean-y” based and I can admit that openly. But being your partner means I will continue to search online for healthier versions of the soul food you like. I would like you to live a long time.
You have this patience about you that I do not have, especially with our kids. You are an incredible father. You are so fun to be around. They just love being with you, playing with you, how you connect with them. I am proud to be with you whenever we go places. You have this smile that lights up your whole face and it is so. damned. sexy.
I don’t tell you often enough that I appreciate you. I love that we kiss goodbye in the mornings while you whisk George out the door and I get to kiss you both at the same height and time on workdays when our routines are synced. I love that you help me do things that aren’t that important to you, but you know that they’re important to me: making the bed, putting away all the toys after the kids are down, cleaning the floors before our parents show up. Truly, you have no idea how much I appreciate you. I should tell you and show you more. I love sitting across a table from you. I love being your partner.
I appreciate you, Gabe. I love you more than you’ll ever really know. I’m not the best at communicating it, but neither are you so we can call it even. And I’ll still continue to work hard at us. Happy 38th birthday, best friend of mine. I love your guts.