We didn’t realize the far-reaching effects of having our first child. We dreamed, planned, and imagined what our future life would be like with our daughter. What we couldn’t begin to understand is how much time would be taken away from us as a team.
Our love of hiking still exists. Our love of travel still exists. Our love of quietly watching a movie still exists. But our priorities have shifted to spending as much time with our baby as possible.
Parenting can be all-consuming. It takes every spare breath, every bit of concentration, and all of the energy. We find ourselves chasing after our surprisingly quick baby (were we the ones who said we were excited for her to walk?!) and being pulled in every direction. At the end of our day, we feel over-stressed, overwhelmed, and overstimulated from trying to get our child to survive until bedtime. There truly is no preparation for how many times you will have to stop your child daily from swallowing any object within their grubby little grasp.
As a mom, I have found myself anxiously awaiting your return home from work. I await the dogs alerting me to your car pulling into the driveway every evening and you walking through our front door. I can release the breath I didn’t know I was holding. It feels like no matter the day your daughter and I had, tantrums or not, that it wasn’t quite complete without you.
After arriving home you are always so quick to give me a reprieve from parenting. Whether that be going to work out, grabbing food, or allowing me some time to watch a full episode without interruption. While I love this about you, I wonder to myself when we will get to choose our time together again. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that occasionally I am quick to take you up on your offer, but it does lead to guilt. Not guilt from taking a moment away from our child, but some guilt from not being with you, my spouse.
Our journey as a couple has been greatly enhanced by our experience as parents. I have found more to love about you than I thought possible. I love that you carry out bathtime preparations and nightly readings. I love hearing you sing “Under the Sea” in the bath as our daughter screeches at the top of her lungs, and slaps the water until it splashes and soaks through your shirt. I love that you enjoy getting quicker at reading the tongue twisters every night with Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks. I love that you became a greater parent than I ever could have dreamed.
I love my daughter. She is joyful and filled with giggles that fill all the compartments of my heart. She makes me live more freely, smile more broadly, and has taught me to not take small moments for granted.
But I know I wouldn’t have her without you. You are still the person I choose to spend my life with. You are still the person I choose to parent with. You are still the person I choose every day. Because one day it will be just us again.