I’ve been a hopeless romantic for as long as I can remember—I’ve devoured every rom-com and cheesy love story known to man, and had a Pinterest board dedicated to weddings since I was 19. (Thank God, I didn’t get married at 19.)
I did get married at 21, though, and have had this curiously wonderful man with me in the thick of it for nearly six years now. The “thick of it” is getting thicker by the minute, as we wade through new parenting territory together.
We’re the mayors of midnight feedings, the sultans of stink, the royalty of rashes. I’m still the same hopeless romantic: I try to be and do everything, emulating the good sitcom moms in the best ways I can. I do the research, try to make the right choices and nurture our baby girl. I work, I cook, I clean (OK, it’s not SPOTLESS, but we don’t have rats!) and go to grad school online.
I collapse at the end of every day with nothing more to give of myself, and I whine inwardly “but who takes care of me?” In the bed next to me, I watch the steady rhythm of the sheets rising and falling with his deep, peaceful breaths.
It was him in the early days of my second pregnancy with our rainbow baby, where he reassured me that accidentally eating more than my recommended weekly allotment of shrimp wasn’t going to do any harm.
It was him when he let me decide against a gender reveal, then changed my mind at the last minute because, y’all, KRISPY KREME DOES GENDER REVEAL DOUGHNUTS.
It was him when I was drowning in a job I hated, knowing we would struggle without that income. He supported me to quit anyway.
It was him pushing me to apply for the dream job, and celebrating me when I got it.
It was him with me when weird liquids came out of me right before, during and after having our girl.
Through it all, he has smelt and dealt with some of life’s messiest circumstances, and I realized something ...
It was him with me when they gave me the stool softener in the hospital that I 100 percent didn’t need, and nearly flooded our hospital room.
It was him that helped our baby to latch properly, nudging me along with soft reminders and gentle compassion.
It was him that gave me my first bath after the C-section, and it was him that got me more of those ultra-alluring diapers you wear postpartum.
It was him, and has always been him.
Through it all, he has smelt and dealt with some of life’s messiest circumstances, and I realized something: Pinterest could have never prepared me for this. How did this male human become such a wonderful husband and father?
He’s only a year older than me but with the sage wisdom (and the tendency to sleep during movies) of a man twice his age. He fixes broken things, whether it’s me or the toilet or my car. He’s eaten his fair share of bone-dry chicken as I muddled through learning to cook. He’s also cooked when I couldn’t stand the thought of raw meat or onions (thanks, weird hormones).
This life doesn’t have a gorgeous thumbnail for any of my pins on my countless boards of the life I had envisioned for myself. Pinterest didn’t properly prepare me to love like this.
I tuck myself into bed, hunkering down next to him, and wonder how I could ever repay him. How could I show him my gratitude, my love and my devotion?
“I’ll shave. Everything!” I thought. Thoughts of favorite meals, fun nights out and tantric positions from the Kama Sutra float around my mind. I’m a real triple threat, I humble-brag to myself.
He farts in his sleep. It makes me gag, sexy thoughts immediately extinguished.
I guess I’ll just thank him by having another kid who looks like they hatched out of an egg he laid instead.