Erin once asked me, “why don’t you write letters to me any more?” To which I laughed and replied, “because you never wrote me back.” She laughed also and said “I guess I needed to do that.” I once wrote Erin a love letter to our kids that we did not have yet apologizing to them that I will love their mother more.
Parenting can be amazing, full of joy and fulfillment watching your kids find joy and grow. Parenting can also be trying, each putting in 110% and yet seeing the house still messy or finding your spouse still asleep at 10 AM, or passed out on the couch at 8 PM feeling like the other is not pulling their weight, even though both of you are trying to do their best and not everything is getting done. Parenting can feel filled with guilt that you are doing all you can yet feeling as though you are doing nothing well. And even when you forgive yourself for all those feelings, parenting can feel transactional doing what needs to be done and not finding time for each other.
There are parents who have date nights or weekends away, but we feel so away from our kids when we are away from them that we don’t really do it. There are too many trips for work that we spend away, and time can feel so short. So we find other ways, we sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and talk for two hours like we did when we were dating. We hold hands in the mall as the kids run on ahead of us. We kiss in front of our kids eliciting knowing glances and “ooohs” between them. We laugh at our own foibles and forgive each other’s angers. We step in when the other is exhausted, we pull our weight to get the kids to the bus. We take care of each other when we are sick or tired, or sad. We take the time to say “I love you” every day and talk every day for the past 14 years. We learn to laugh at ourselves and with each other to grow together, and in growing together, we work to fulfill our vows we made 12 years ago. What can be more romantic than that? Happy anniversary Erin. I love you.