It has been one year since our son was born. High five! We all somehow survived our first year of parenting.
And I have one important message for you: I still like you.
I forgave you for yelling “Holy cow! Look at those cankles!” in Lowes, because you rubbed my pregnant, swollen feet more times than I can count. And, if we are being honest, I did point out my “ham hocks” prior to your outburst. This might be a good time to mention how much I appreciated having someone to laugh with during the whole, weird process of growing a person.
And, I still like you.
I still beam with pride at the way that we were able to stand side by side for hours of grueling, unmedicated back labor to bring our son earth side. I appreciate the fact that you waited a few days to tell me that you peeked at the baby as he came out, and nearly panicked that he was green like Shrek thanks to all that meconium. Thank goodness I had someone who could love me even after seeing me in my mesh hospital diaper, three days from my most recent shower, wreaking of breast milk, and crying because I was embarrassed that a Katy Perry song made me cry. For better or worse, right?
And, I still like you.
We’ve spent much of the last year in a sleepless haze. That eyes burning, can’t remember if I’m wearing underwear, wondering who I wronged in a past life kind of tired that is only reserved for the parents of new humans. And, because we can’t blame the baby, we’ve often blamed each other. We’ve stood toe to toe too many times to count, arguing over stupid stuff like where to go to dinner and whose turn it is to wash the bottles, as though they were a matter of life or death.
I’ve hurt your feelings. You’ve hurt mine. Not intentionally. But, coming from a primal place – when we’re so tired and overwhelmed that our animal instincts have short circuited our human brains. We’ve had to say “I’m sorry” as frequently as “I love you,” and we’ve had to learn that sometimes, it is better if we forget who is to blame, skip the apologies, and move on with the recognition that we were both wrong.
But, I still like you.
This year has been momentous. We stood together as a new life entered our family. And as treasured lives were laid to rest. We cheered each other on through promotions and job loss, encouraging each other professionally even when things were rough. We’ve made hard decisions about things like finances and child care and health, together. Though it has been easy to view each other as the enemy when things get hard, we always seem to find a way back to leaning on each other for support. And through it all, we kept our little boy alive. We nurtured him into a smart, inquisitive, determined, ornery little man. Which he gets from me. And you.
Which is why I still like you.
I like the way that our son’s smile matches yours. I like the way you read him Game of Thrones when he was little, and the way you have Little Blue Truck memorized after he’s requested in a thousand time. I like the way you run to the store for diapers and come back with a Star Wars shirt two sizes too big for a nine month old. I like the way that you downloaded more baby apps than I did. I like the way that you read them.
I like that we can still talk. And we can still laugh. I like that you made fun of me for buying us adult coloring books, but that you are secretly excited to sit and color after the baby has gone to bed!
I like that sometimes, very rarely, we can step away from being parents together, and we can just be husband and wife. With our son safely watched by an aunt or uncle, we can devour hot coffee or craft beer. We can promise not to talk about the baby, but we’ll both miss him so much that we’ll spend the whole night fretting over how many bowel movements he’s had today or laughing at the way that he busts a move every time he hears Pitbull playing. We’ll promise ourselves that we’ll have date nights more often, but we both know it’ll be at least six weeks before we start thinking of making grown-up plans.
I like that our life together is messy. And chaotic. And hard. I like that we can acknowledge that sometimes it sucks. But, I also like that, at the end of every day, when we’re all nestled in bed, we both say prayers of thanks for this life we have together.
Hopefully there has never been a doubt in your mind that I love you. But, I’ve been wondering if you knew that I still like you. I do.