My darling, I know it’s easy to get caught up in the madness of the dinner rush and then the bedtime routines and the bedtime demands and the getting out of their beds and the climbing into our beds. But today, I wanted to pause and tell you something.

I wanted to thank you. Thank you for taking out the trash. Thank you for doing all the laundry. Thank you for working so hard for our family. Thank you for hosting dance parties for your daughters . And thank you for letting me pick the movies we watch (for the most part). But most of all—thank you for loving me like you do. When we first starting dating, you used to joke around and call me a cat—because I liked to be hanging on you or touching somehow all the time. (I like some good ol’ fashion PDA, what can I say?)

Now, after 10 years, I finally think you are on the same page as me. Affection is one of our mutual love languages—how we give and receive love.

And showing love is a huge part of parenting. I want our children to see us hold hands, to watch us give each other the biggest hug when we reunite after a long day. I want them to see that when you love someone, it is normal and natural to want to show them affection—that it fuels a relationship. But what has also entered into this discussion is consent. Thank you for being right there with me during these sometimes tricky-to-navigate conversations and for truly understanding just how significant these lessons really are. And I’m not sure if you know how much your affection means to me, so I’ll tell you. The hug you give me after you walk through the door from work is something I wait for all day. It recharges me. Your arms, ready to catch me when I fall, have been there to support me many times when I’ve broken down. Knowing that you will always be there for me—right by my side—makes me feel brave. It reassures me. The kiss you give me before you leave for work—quietly in the early hours of the morning—is something I count on every single morning. It encourages me.
Knowing your hand is beside me, for me to hold on to—while we’re walking, when I’m nervous, when I just want to feel connected to you—is a privilege I’m lucky to have. It protects me. The back rubs you give me help me feel seen. You know how grueling motherhood can be for me and when you suggest kneading out my (many, many) knots, I feel like you understand my needs. It validates me. Knowing that our dancing around together in the kitchen will guarantee all three of our girls joining in warms my heart. It fills my cup. The intimate act of wiping the tears from my face has comforted me more than you know. You make me feel safe. Feeling you beside me in bed, snuggling me before we drift off to sleep, erases the stress of the day. (Even if it’s only for about 30 seconds before we both turn over to get our own space. ?) It makes me feel peaceful. When we curl up together on the couch after an exhausting day of meals and meltdowns, diapers and drop-offs, emails and meetings, I’ve come to realize that there’s nowhere else I’d rather be in the world.
The bum taps, the quick kisses in passing, the hand squeezes, the forehead kisses, the high-fives all make me feel special, beautiful, important. Your affection reminds me that I’m your girl and that we’re in this together. Being a mother is hard. I know you know this already. I give and give… and then I give some more. It can be, often times, emotionally draining and physically taxing. And I don’t get bonuses from my tiny bosses or a report card for proof of how hard I’m working and how much effort my role requires. I’m often left wondering if I’m doing anything right. And a lot of the time I can cut myself a break and realize I am doing a great job. And I can feel beautiful and I can show myself love. But, I’m only human, and I crave validation from you. I’m grateful you show me validation by way of affection , because it works for me. So, thank you. I feel seen. I feel appreciated. And most of all—I feel loved. Love always, Your wife

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