This amazing, full and busy life we are building together can be so demanding, in so many ways. And each of us sacrifices so much to make it work. Yes, I wake up early to manage kids to school every morning, and then all things home for the day, but I see the weight you carry, too.
Sometimes I forget to tell you that I see you.
I may have the mental load of home, but you have the burden of work that takes you away from us, then deposits you back here, just as tired as me.
We have the same end goals, but along the way, when having it all tips the scales and we find ourselves depleted, it is far too easy to fall into the "who is doing more work" game, where no one ever actually wins. It really isn't a contest.
There are times that I wallow in the weariness of my everyday tasks, which seem to vary little, but which always amount to a sea of work that sometimes drowns me.
I wait for you to get home so I can unload the burden of my stress, expecting you to throw me a lifeline and rescue me from my fatigue. These are the days I forget that you are working hard, too, and to tell you I appreciate the things you do to try to buoy me, just to make things a little better. But, I see you.
I see you commuting for your job so we can live where we do, and do what we do. Up at 4:00 am and out the door at 5:00 to catch your flight at 6:00 just so you can land in time for meetings all day—only to do it all in reverse to get home in time to make little league and volleyball games. On the other days, I see you execute a gritty city commute without complaint to do the same thing.
I see you picking up milk and eggs and bread and butter on the way home, and going back for the tomatoes because we may or may not have them, but extra can't hurt, and you don't want me to run out to the store again if I don't have to.
I see you come home at night so tired, but not too tired to play a round of ping-pong, to pitch or catch, fix a bike, read a book, draw a bath, help with homework, and to patiently listen to each one's day. I see you reach deep inside to find exactly the right words to guide them and help them stay the course.
I see you staying up after the kids are in bed to finish the work you put on hold so you could get home to us in time for dinner.
I see you doing dishes after working all day because you know I won't get to it 'til later, and that means I won't get to bed 'til later. And then I see you when you quietly empty the dishwasher in the very early morning before you leave for work, so I don't have to.
I see you reading that extra book or playing just one more round of go-fish, even when the big game is on.
I see you getting up early enough on a weekend to make sure the kids have all the sports equipment they need—and that it fits—and then running out to get their new gear before tip-off.
I see you hanging the darn Christmas lights, inside and out.
Though these seem like little things, they add up to a mountain of love in the care and keeping of us. Your hard work makes the difference between us standing still and moving forward in working towards our goals.
And you work hard at the big things, too.
I see you working hard at us. I see the quiet caretaking and painstaking effort to ensure that we are always growing together as our lives change and our children get older, transforming our relationship.
It takes patience and time and energy after a long day. It takes humility and listening and understanding. This is big.
It's hard work to put aside agendas and defenses and just be bare and open to hearing what needs to be heard, no matter how sharp or heavy or searing it may be—and then still work, still patiently explain, express, wait.
This is hard work, on top of hard work, and I see you. And I am so grateful.