Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Although I consider myself to be a pretty good father and husband, I have to be honest with myself and admit that I am still, at heart, a flawed human being, just like everybody else. I have always struggled with living in the present, enjoying the moment, and being content with the blessings bestowed upon me. I am, like most Americans, a consumer, and assume that a bigger house, or a nicer car, or a better vacation will bring more joy and happiness to me and my family. Perhaps this is primarily a male trait, but, for me, the thrill of the hunt is always more satisfying than the kill itself.

This poses a unique dilemma upon my marriage, for there is nothing left for me to conquer there. The hunt is over, and although my trophy fills me with pride, I tend to take her for granted, and I seldom let her know just how much she means to me anymore. And to make matters worse, I flaunt my love for my daughter in her face, in an effort to prevent Ella from ever suffering from low self esteem, hoping that she will never settle for less than she is worth. I have moved on from making sure my wife feels appreciated, shifting that focus instead upon my daughter. This is, perhaps, my deepest regret.

The truth is that my wife is a wonderful mother. She has lived up to my every expectation in that regard. I knew watching her with my nieces and nephews that she would make an ideal parent. And this is no easy task. She is consumed with guilt that she spends all of her time yelling at our children. "No, don't touch that. It's hot!". "Don't jump on your sister!". "Do you want to go to time out?". But children need parents to teach them their boundaries. And compared to the kids I see at the restaurant on a regular basis, our kids are very well behaved, indeed. She deserves all of the credit for our wonderful children. I was just the guy in the room at the time of conception. How lucky was that?

We entered into parenthood knowing that this would not be an easy task. But I don't think that either of us knew just how hard it would be. So on the heels of Mother's Day, I need to tell my wife just how much she means to me. Sure, we say "I love you" every day, but that's just as insignificant as "How was your day?", or "Can you take out the trash?". So the following is an open love letter to my wife. I don't care who reads it. I only hope you can find a fraction of the love that she gives to me on a regular basis.

My dearest Jodie,

Happy late Mother's Day. I can't help but feel like the gifts I gave you don't do you justice. I could never repay you for the gifts you have given me in the form of our beautiful twins, Jack and Ella. They are the embodiment of our love for each other, and they are perfect in each and every way, and I have you to thank for that.

I am well aware of the sacrifices that you have made for our family, and they will not go unappreciated. Even in hard times, and raising children without the help of our families is hard, indeed, you have been there to guide all of us. Although I could never repay you for what you have given me, I can assure you that I will always be there beside you. Even when raising twins brings out the worst in us, I have never entertained the thought of leaving you. You provide me with unparalleled comfort and stability when I need it most. You are the backbone of this family, and I am eternally grateful to you for all of your contributions.

I could never imagine my life without you in it. You have changed me for the better, and I am a better man because of you. I say these words proudly, and for all to see. And if pride is a sin, well then, I am a sinner of great magnitude. I want the world to know that I love you more than I love myself, and I never thought that was possible, because I am pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Please be at my side always...