There’s been a lot of gardening going on around here. My wife, who will be henceforth known as D, has started to really enjoy gardening. This is likely in her blood (her mom also likes it) but COVID has been a catalyst and over the past year+, she has spent a lot of time planting things, digging things up, planting them in different places, putting together a raised garden, growing vegetables, something called thyme, and a variety of other things I won’t eat. She’s gotten pretty good at it.
She told Chloe, Julianna, and me recently that she did not want us to buy her a Mothers’ Day gift because we’ve been spending money on plants and things and she really enjoys that and that’s enough. She did not, however, say I couldn’t write about her.
I’ve written on this blog, about Julianna and Chloe, for almost 11 years now. I write about all the moments in our daughters’ lives; the good ones, the bad ones, and the ones in between. I write about how I feel about those moments and how they feel about those moments. While I will occasionally make reference to my wife, I don’t write about her because this blog has always been about my experience as a dad for my daughters.
Let’s take a break from that whole thing for a minute because my experience as a dad for my daughters is of course hugely influenced and impacted by my wife and today, and this post, is a day and a way to celebrate her for all the hard work she’s put into this team.
I know there are plenty of single parents out there, both moms and dads, who don’t get the benefit of a partner to help with the “typical” day-to-day parenting operations and to all of you out there, major kudos. Parenting is a pretty challenging job, as I’m sure you know, even if you have a teammate so I know that challenge is even greater when you’re doing it as a single parent.
That being said, I do have a teammate and a good one at that. It is 2021. She and I don’t always play the roles of “traditional” mom and dad with our respective titles. I do things that many might consider the “mom” things and she does things that many might consider the “dad” things. We’re both good at the things we’re good at, know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and work together, as best as we can, to raise our daughters. She is a part of everything I do and every way I think when it comes to our kids.
When I was growing up I loved playing team sports. I played baseball and basketball and even varsity tennis in high school, but as a doubles player (1st doubles – thank you very much). I love being part of a good team. Feeling like I don’t have to carry the whole load ironically motivates me to want to carry as much of it as I can, probably because I know I won’t actually have to.
For my whole professional career, I’ve been on, managed, and built teams. I’ve worked with people who were good teammates and people who were not. The latter of whom, while often nice people personally, are no fun. I just don’t like spending time with people who aren’t into the team game. The irony of that is that I’m actually quite introverted. I generally prefer quiet time in my own head. Anyhow, the whole “team” thing has always been important to me because I’ve always known I can’t do everything on my own, and so assuming I’m going to need help, having a teammate who I can trust and rely upon to do their part has always been important to me.
I trust D (which probably shouldn’t be a huge surprise at this point as we approach our 15th wedding anniversary). But here’s the thing with trust as I see it when it comes to parenting: we don’t always agree and that’s ok. We aren’t always on the same page with how to handle something. This is all ok. We figure it out. I know that if I’m not around to help with a problem, she’ll take care of it and she knows the same in reverse. We try very hard to not contradict each other in front of the girls and if we disagree, we try to model how to do that respectfully. I’m the bad guy about certain things and she is about other things.
Perhaps most importantly, we both spend a lot of time embarrassing the girls publicly. Sometimes we are doing that on purpose and other times, not so much. I suppose it’s about perspective. D, for example, is a much better dancer than I am. Chloe and Julianna are both good dancers. You’d assume it would be totally ok for D to start dancing randomly with them while out in public. It turns out that assumption is incorrect.
I have what I’d self-diagnose as mild obsessive compulsive disorder. I like my routines and I like to be organized and prepared. I’ve never been around anyone who was more prepared for anything than D. She is already planning whatever the plan is going to be for next year’s planning. For someone like me, it is wildly comforting to know that someone has “that thing” thought out and ready. If only she could figure out how to use the calendar on her phone and stop putting things like “Chloe’s Doctor Appointment at 3:00pm” as the title of the calendar event but setting the time to 4:00pm but you know, baby steps.
This is the point: she and I aren’t perfect parents but we’re a great team together. I’m incredibly lucky to be on this parenting journey with a partner who understands and accepts me for who I am and how I do things.
Julianna and Chloe are incredibly lucky to have her as a mother.
I hope this post embarrasses the hell out of her. Trust me: she LOVES this kind of attention.
Happy Mother’s Day D.
PS: To all the Moms out there: my Mother, my sister, my Mother-in-law, my bubbie, my sister-in-law, all my family and friends who are Moms, and all the other Moms out there: Happy Mothers’ Day to you too. Raise a glass of whatever it is you drink or don’t drink or whatever it is you do to toast yourselves. I hope you all feel as proud of yourselves for the jobs you do as I feel about my wife.