“In life, it’s not where you go. It’s who you travel with.” – Charles Shulz
There are certain shrieks that pierce your sanity more than others. I can sit surprisingly content while the toddler lays on the floor of the grocery store wailing to the heavens about the travesty endured when I refused her a second banana. I easily empathize with my little girl when I know she’s tired, hungry, or overwhelmed by the day–giving grace and staying patient in those situations is rarely a challenge. This makes me sound like a good parent, no? Not so fast. Unfortunately, there are all these other times where I break down and want to thrust an “IT’S ME OR THEM!” ultimatum on my wife (even though I wouldn’t be her selection). I struggle constantly when the toddler doesn’t listen to me—which, come to think of it, is nearly every moment of every day. I want to claw the walls down when I’ve repeated myself for the 17th time and all I am receiving is an ornery smirk. The other notable scenario when my patience is severely lacking occurs when the newborn hits the blood curdling, losing oxygen screams and I cannot find a solution. I have loved each of my little newborn girls, but the weak yet shrill wailing they produce puts my nerves on edge and still makes me shudder to think about.
Fortunately for me, and more fortunately for my daughters, I have this ridiculously strong and loving entity standing by my side; my girls call her ‘mommy’ while I call her any of five dozen nicknames (of which she tolerates…1? Maybe 2?). On this post-Mother’s Day post, I can’t help but contemplate where my daughters and family would be without my wife. When the newborn fills the neighborhood with piercing howls that sound like a goat is getting strangled in our backyard, my wife gently takes Everly from my arms and patiently soothes her into calm. I literally have sweat forming on my forehead I’m so overwhelmed trying to stop the crying but my wife takes the baby with confident ease. I’m not going to pretend that Eliza (the toddler) listens to my wife any better than me, but I do know that when I’m caught in an epic power struggle with Eliza, the last sliver of my poor sanity is only preserved by my wife’s calm support while the situation escalates.
I don’t know exactly what it is I’m providing in this parenthood journey, but I do know that my wife brings the patience, the character, the love, the intelligence, the grace, and the good looks to our family. I guess if I weren’t here, there’d be fewer mishaps, mistakes, and embarrassments, which would make the blog a whole lot less interesting. So I have that going for me. There are so many overwhelming and exhausted moments in our family life that I am prone to impatience and mistakes, but it always seems like my wife slides in at just the perfect moment to balance my energy.
I write this at the conclusion of our third successful Mother’s Day. For Mother’s Day this year, my wife asked for a showerhead with a hose attachment so she could bathe our daughters easier. Seriously, that’s it? I don’t know how I found her, but her practicality makes her cheapskate husband grin in delight. Practicality, however, is less of the reason; it is an inherent selflessness that I could not pretend to emulate and I can’t imagine a much more important motherly trait than selflessness. Anyways, the day passed as most of our weekend days do, devoted to time with and time for our daughters. And I know my wife wouldn’t have it any other way.
So if you’re looking for inspiration to get your week started off, I hope you have a partner-in-crime alongside you that pushes you when needed, encourages you when you’re down, and complements you perfectly. I know I am blessed with this relationship and that there are several single parents and single readers without the benefit of a committed partner; I hope you can find similar support from other family members, friends, and peers. We all need a little boost from time to time, especially when there’s a little teething toddler dragon destroying the entire living room.
Happy Belated Mother’s Day