I don’t know when it happened.
It’s not like I woke up one morning and decided you no were no longer at the top of my list. It was a slow progression. So slow, I’m not even sure I realized it was happening. Maybe you didn’t, either.
But somewhere along the way in our journey of marriage, parenting, and life, I started to put you last.
Behind the kids.
Behind my work.
Behind our house that is never, ever clean enough in my eyes.
Behind all of the things I crave that are so hard to come by during these years of parenting littles . . .
That’s where I put you.
Instead of wondering what you’d like to eat for dinner after a long day of work, I resented the fact you weren’t there to help with the kids while I cooked.
The random text messages I used to send you throughout the day just to say hello turned into, “Please grab some milk,” or, “When will you be home?”
I stopped asking your opinion on things and began to trample down your ideas with my own.
Instead of dreaming of ways to surprise you with random acts of love, I put all my effort into sprinkling the kids with magic.
I went from reaching for your hand every chance I got to shrugging off your embrace because I was so touched out from long days of motherhood.
I started to put you last. Even though you’ve given me more grace and understanding than I deserve, I know it has to sting.
And it’s so unfair to you when you have been so good to me. So good.
When you have been patient and understanding and loyal and compromising and thoughtful and every other wonderful thing under the sun.
I’m so sorry for every time I’ve made you feel like you don’t matter to me the way you used to—but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I need you now more than ever. I want you now more than ever.
And I just hope you know:
Even when I put you last—
Even when I fail to give you the respect and consideration you’re SO very deserving of—
Even when I treat you like a business partner instead of appreciating the gift I’ve been given in you—
Even then . . . you are my person.
There’s no one I’d rather do life with than you. No one.
So, my love:
When I put you last, bring me back around with a gentle touch.
When I put you last, say something funny to make me laugh.
When I put you last, help me arrange a babysitter so we can sneak away for a dinner out, just the two of us.
When I put you last, turn on a movie to distract the kids and pull me out onto the porch for a quiet conversation—even if we’re quickly interrupted.
When I put you last, remind me that it’s you and me against the world.
If there’s one thing I never want to do, it’s make you feel like I don’t value you. We’ve built a beautiful, chaotic, perfectly imperfect life together—and not one bit of it would be possible without you.
Before all of this—before the house and the dogs and the kids and the jobs and everything else that fills our days—it was you and I.
We were first. You were first.
And even when I’m really awful about showing it . . . in my heart you always will be.