I've been waiting all day to see you. Mostly because I love you and your company and everything is more fun when you're here with us. But also, to be honest, because I need an extra set of hands.
That is why, the moment you walk in the door from a full day at your demanding job, I typically greet you with a kiss and a swift handoff of the baby. I know this is so very un-Mad Men of me. The time that used to be an invitation to kick your feet up and enjoy a cocktail until dinner is on the table is now a solid, chaotic three-hour block before bedtime.
Although I'm not sure the expectation that you'll immediately transition from one job to the next is quite fair, you never complain. And more than that, you encourage it by telling me to go take a break or by answering my plea to have uninterrupted time to make dinner. (Cooking has always been meditative for me, but the experience is quite different with a baby on my hip and toddler at my side.)
Maybe you don't think twice about how much this means to me. Maybe you're just looking at it as meaningful time with the kids, which can be in shorter supply for you during the work week than it is for me. Just as I find joy in the routine of getting the kids ready for the day, I know you cherish the special time carved out during bedtime when you are in charge of the baths and pajamas.
I hope you see how much this means to our kids, too. As much fun as I have with them during the day, I am no you. They've been waiting all day for the moment your car pulls into the driveway—as if you couldn't tell from those tackle-style hugs and cheers that greet you.
Still, I think we can both recognize that this emotionally precarious evening time can go either way. But you don't flinch if it happens to be one of those meltdown nights and I'm so thankful for that.
I've always known what a great partner you would be in parenting. Now I know that doesn't just mean those moments when we are parenting together—but also those times when we play tag team and you enable me to recharge. Even if it just seems like five minutes when I'm able to lay on the bed and scroll through Instagram, it does so much good for me.
I hope you have this same experience when you're driving home from work in your car or able to go out for a lunch break—because I'm certainly not the best at giving it to you when you're home. While you're always so modest about it by acknowledging that you do get more breaks built into your day than me, it takes a certain kind of grit to make that quick shift from work- to home-life every. single. evening.
Of course, there are some days that pass in the blink of an eye. I simply look at the time and realize you're almost home. Then there are other days when it seems like it must be time for you to get home when it's actually only 9 o'clock. On those occasions, it's often the promise of a few minutes relief later in the evening that don't just "help me get through," but also keep me focused on the gift of the time I have with the kids.
I really feel so privileged in this way: Not only do I get to spend most of my time with our children, but I also get the chance to replenish my energy at the end of the day thanks to you.
This feels pretty close to "having it all"—and it's all thanks to how hard you work during the day and night.