I tell you I love you, but it’s as if you don’t believe me.

Maybe it’s because I woke you up this morning, barking a list of things we needed to do immediately so our daughter wouldn’t be late for school. Maybe it’s because sometimes I pull away too quickly when you try to hug me. Maybe it’s because saying “I love you” isn’t good enough.

Lately, it has to be.

Our time together is unbelievably limited. Or, OK, believably limited for other parents of small kids with these “busy” lives we all seem to lead.

Our time together is Netflix, and quickies and sipping wine when we’re exhausted but the kids are finally in bed. Our time together is weekends that go too quickly and whiny grocery store trips. Our time together is less and less about “us” and increasingly more about everything else.

Our “us” is the most important thing to me.

Our “us” is different than it once was and not always “good different,” I know. But our relationship is the most valuable aspect of my life.

Our “us” is why we have these small children—we wanted to raise a family together; we wanted to bring more love into our already full-of-love closeness. We did. These two new, tiny people did bring so much more love into our daily lives. Yet there’s also significantly more responsibility and there are more roles we now have to play.

We play not only wife and husband, scientist and writer, cyclist and yoga instructor; we play, too, these all-consuming roles of Mom and Dad, and we love it. And I wouldn’t want to be here—experiencing these parts and pieces of our lives—with anyone else but you.

I want more of you.

I, too, want more sex—I want more making love. I want more date nights and late nights and groggy morning-breath moments in bed before we have to get up. (I want more time with you in a bed without children.)

To be fair, I miss me also. I don’t get enough time alone, much less enough time together. But I love this life we’ve created and our family and everything we’ve evolved into and effortfully—lovingly—built.

Still, I don’t want our “together” to feel so far apart.

I tell you “I love you” and I know it isn’t good enough. Words are special, especially to a writer, but they can never be enough all by themselves. Instead, we need time off work and people to watch our kids, and, essentially, luxuries we don’t often have.

You always have me.

You have always had me.

You will always have me.

“I love you” doesn’t give to you what I wish it did. But I say it anyway, so that in between the childcare to-dos, the laundry lists of… laundry, the pick-ups and drop-offs, the appointments, the bedtimes, the coffee and goodnight kisses—you know I’m still here.

Seeing you.

Wanting you.

Needing you.

Offering everything I am and have to you.

And loving you as best as I’m able to right now. Right here. Where we are—together.