I remember us—young, carefree us.

Plans were only made for travel and routine was as good as the empty pages of our phone calendar.

Sheets would fall lazily around us on Sunday mornings and new cafe ventures would await. Now the sheets are cold at 4 a.m. but the floor next to the cots is warm.

The touch of each other’s hands has been replaced by soft, beautifully grubby little ones.

Our excitement used to lie in the discoveries about each other; now they’re with each little new word or tooth, each new curl.

We sigh a lot, usually as a response to a question. “How was your day?” Sigh.

When I throw my arms around you, it’s to lean on you and you know that, and that’s OK.

We brush past each other like drifting clouds in the nighttime routine.

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We forget to say I love you out loud sometimes, but we have a language we’ve developed in support instead—the I love yous are still there.

Our days were mapped by arbitrary decisions; currently, they’re dictated by leaps, phases, and regressions. I know we didn’t want to be “those parents” but here we are.

We’re completely and vulnerably honest with each other, not just in words but in our deepest emotions and letting them float to the surface.

We’ve seen a lot—YOU have seen a lot of me—and we’ve become comfortable, sometimes as comfortable as the open door on the toilet conversing about what’s for dinner and no one bats an eyelid . . . no one.

I want to thank you for always asking me how I am doing, even though you’ve just come home from a long day’s work; for walking in with a smile; for hugging the kids like you haven’t seen them in ages; for saving me the last coffee pod; for running a bath without me asking; for the shoulder rub that lasts three minutes as you fall asleep. 

Thank you for seeing through the unfamiliarity, knowing I’m still there but loving the new me even more and loving what we’ve created more than life itself.

We are discovering so much as parents—let’s not forget our relationship is a new discovery, too.

Us has a new meaning now—it’s us and them, a new version of us. Encompassing and evolving, and I love you for supporting and loving me through it all.

Here’s to us.

This post originally appeared on the author’s Instagram page

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Jessica Urlichs

Stay at home mother to my two children Holly & Harry born a year apart. Lives in New Zealand with her husband and of course Bentleigh & Winson, my two adorable fur babies. Writing has always been my passion since a young girl, I love to connect with others on this challenging yet incredible journey of motherhood. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.