You come home from work and find me in the kitchen. I’m pretending to do dishes, bent over the sink, trying to hide my tears. You hug me, and I think maybe you haven’t noticed. 

Then our 4-year-old says, “Mommy is sad.”

Now you know. I look up at you, knowing how bad I must look. 

While you open chips and dip for lunch, ask me, “What is the hardest part? What do you think you need to do to feel better?”

Your trust lets me know I already have the answer, somewhere. I just need to look.

Then ask me, “What can I do to help you?

Take the kids and pretend to be a bear in the living room and make them giggle while I cry in our room and wipe my nose with the washcloth from the bath.

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Take the kids for a drive so they fall asleep. Give me silence so I can listen to quiet piano music and mop the floor. Don’t ask me why I’m not resting. This is resting.

Give me your body. Say, “Do you need a hug?”

Say, “I love you. You’re doing a great job.”

Listen quietly when I tell you I can’t keep up. I can’t stay skinny and patient and keep the dog hair off the stairs.

I’ve forgotten how to keep going. 

Don’t be offended when I tell you the only thing making me happy right now is sneaking in the kids’ room at night to see them asleep sideways in bed with their arms out wide buried under a pile of books.

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Take me outside.

Make me dinner.

Say thank you for the boring dinner I made.

Commiserate. “I’m not feeling very motivated lately, either.”

Be stable and flawed and strong and mine.

Drink wine with me in the rain on the porch.

Tell me, “This is a season,” because I forget.

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Just love me when I’m sad. 

Your wife who has real feelings and struggles and who loves all of you always, too.

Genny Rietze

Genny Rietze lives on the beach in Alaska with her husband, two busy kids, and twenty chickens.  You can find her on Instagram @gennyrietze