As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Privilege of Being Here

This morning, as I often do, I lingered with my infant son on his change table.  His diaper changed and his belly full from his most recent feeding, he was a complete delight. A happy little guy, he has just recently begun to smile and coo, and at two months old he's at the age where every day brings something new.  So often, and without guilt, I stay there just to watch him.  And the gift of this moment is not lost on me.

Because I know there is another person who would love to do this.  To see what I see.  And that is his Daddy, my husband.  From the time we started having babies eleven years ago my life has been so hard.  But so has his.  While I stayed home and got up for night time feedings, and kept the house and tried to hang onto my sanity in the throws of babyland, he has gone to work. He has risen before dawn and said goodbye to the people he loves the most, spent the better part of his day looking after other tasks and other jobs for other people, then arrived home at the end of the day torn between spending time with the ones he's been missing all day, or finishing one or two of the many items on his mile-long list of jobs to do around the house.  Neither option for him comes without guilt.

I spent seven years as a working mother, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  I'm not saying what I do now is easy, but I think too often people brush off what the other parent does when they go out to work - like it's just so easy to be out in the world and not dealing with your family all day.  But the reality is that it too is just as difficult.  He may not have the constant demands that children bring along with them, but he has demands of a different sort.  The demands of coworkers, bosses, and the other people he encounters in his work day. The demand of keeping our family safe, of earning a good living to provide for us, of taking care of our home and our land and our vehicles, all of which require constant upkeep in addition to his "day job".  Which, I should mention, often ends up being a night or a weekend job too.  He does this while also trying to be attentive to me, and not make things any more difficult than they are.

And me?  I get to be with my children all the time.  I was able to choose that.  Of course it was a decision we made together, but at the very least it was a remote possibility for me.  Even in the years I worked I still was able to spend the first year of their lives on maternity leave, drinking in all these sweet moments with my children.  It has often occurred to me that I see a completely different side of them than he sees, and the thought of that pains me.  On the other side however, is the explosion of joy that takes over my heart when I finally see that baby smile for his Daddy.  I think in a way he probably appreciates it more, because for him it's not something he can just linger and wait for whenever he decides he'd like to.

Raising a family is a team effort, and I know what happens when Dad's not on board.  I am forever grateful that the man I married devotes his entire being to our family, and I would not for one minute think that what he does is in any way easier than being home.  In fact, I think in many ways it's harder. For now we both do what we need to, but I am filled with gratitude that my husband works so hard so that I can stay home with these kids.  There is no place I would rather be, and I could not be here if it wasn't for his constant love, support and sacrifice.  He has truly given us the greatest gift, and we are all so blessed to have him at the helm of our family.

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