I'm guilty of getting you a tie for Father's Day, or that tent so you could camp out in the backyard during the summer with the kids. Every year I try to be a creative gift giver, and this year I decided that it's time I give you something more meaningful. You see, while the kids were these young, toddler hurricanes, I was too exhausted to tell you how grateful I was for you. I knew you worked hard to provide for us and to make sure that we all had what we needed to survive, and I was just as busy doing the same that I didn't think I needed to acknowledge it. I assumed you would know how I felt. I was wrong.
So I want to say it out loud. I am grateful for every single minute that you devote your attention to our kids. From the minute you wake up and set out their cereal bowls until the second that you come home and tuck them into bed at night, I take notice and I appreciate all that you do. You don't have to join in on our dance parties, read one more book to our son, or help our Mad Lib crazed daughter finish her latest fill-in-the-blank story… but you do and it matters to all of us.
Thank you for stepping up. For changing diapers in the family restroom at Target. For taking the morning off to read in their classrooms. For getting out of work early because their team needed a coach that afternoon. For watching their performances and cheering them on despite the score or the outcome. Because when all is said and done, this is what they will remember and this is what makes my heart grow fonder.
Years from now, they won't remember that deal that you closed, or that case that your firm won, or the long hours that you put in to pay for their summer camp. What they will remember, is that you showed up to give them support, love and attention. I will remember too, and so I will say now (what I didn't say in my fog back then) that I appreciate all the sacrifices that you make to be present, and to fully engage in their lives.
I know that your time is limited and the demands on your schedule are intense (and sometimes seem endless). I know that there have been times when we have seen our family and our careers as competing parts of our lives. And I want you to know that when we have chosen family as the priority, those have been the happiest days of my life.
We have certainly had our challenges as parents and spouses over the years. [Tweet "I didn't want one more day to go by without you knowing that I see you."]
I see your efforts. I see your sacrifices. I see you coming through for them.
I see your…
- boo boo kissing
- pancake making
- monster under the bed scaring
- "let it go" singing
- fire fly watching
- fort building
- discipline giving
- vomit wiping
- baseball catching
- back handspring supporting
- breast stroke teaching
- broken toy fixing
- snowboard riding
- garden planting
- rocket ship launching
- Lego building
- tear drying
- dream encouraging
… and so much more!
Your children may not be able to express their gratitude for all of your efforts in those moments, but I can. Thank you for showing up, loving them unconditionally, and for making your family (their future and well-being) a priority. Thank you for recognizing that I also have career and other goals, and that I am a much happier person when I get to co-parent vs. do it all. Thank you for working hard to be an amazing Father to my children, and even if I don't say it every day... I hope you'll know that I appreciate everything that you do.
Your Grateful Wife
PS - If you know of or have a special husband or partner (father or father-figure) who could use some acknowledgement and appreciation for showing up, please feel free to tag them in the comments and include the things that you "see" him doing. Let's add to the list above, and recognize them for all that they do.