Today, Monday, November 4th, is your birthday. You are officially one year old. You celebrated the anniversary of your exodus from the womb much like someone twenty years your senior might: at midnight exactly you started yelling and being obnoxious and demanded a bottle. Although I guess 21 year olds don’t spend the next 20 minutes crying. Or maybe they do, I don’t know.
Anyway, for this momentous occasion, we are doing a spectacular amount of…well…nothing. I went grocery shopping while Grandma watched you and your sister. You got some presents this morning from Grammy and Tata, but that was the extent of our celebration.
This is my fault. Well, sort of. You see, while I am home taking care of the two of you, your mother is off hunting elk, and from what I hear, got one yesterday (I’m confident in my masculinity, so no, this gender role switch doesn’t bother me). The problem here is that party planning is usually something your mom does. Your lack of a party is just one of the many things that I’m realizing this week that your mom brings to this house.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate your mom. I know she works hard and does amazing things for our family, but I guess I’m truly realizing just how much she really does. I’m getting things done, but it’s taking twice as long, I’m working twice as hard, I’m doing twice as much, and I’m not even in the office this week.
I’m telling you all of this for two main reasons. Number one: NEVER forget what your mom does for us. Someday you’ll be a snarky teenager that’s beginning to be frustrated by everything your mom and dad ask of you. Before that happens, take an accounting of what your mom does for our household in one day, then take an accounting of what you do for our household in one day. Then shut your mouth.
The second thing is something that I knew, but that I’ve been learning all over again this week. You see, I have my share of chores, but your mom and I usually team up to take care of things. She washes dirty clothes, I fold dry ones. She loads the dishwasher, I unload it. She puts you to bed; I put your sister to bed. But this week, I’ve had to do everything. I feel like a pitcher without his catcher or a quarterback without his center. I don’t just feel like my wife is out of town, I feel like an incomplete team.
Someday, you will want to get married. She may be tons of fun, she may be beautiful, she may set your heart ablaze with joy, but before you get on one knee, ask yourself this: am I ready to work with this woman? Or, more important still: am I a man worth working with? You see, marriage definitely has fun and attraction and great times, but more often than not, it’s teamwork. You and your future spouse will go on vacations and do amazing things together, but most often, you’ll be cleaning house and going to work and shopping and doing yard work and a whole lot of other stuff. That’s just life. The question is, is the woman in your sights going to support and partner with you in this life, or is she going to be another task? Are you ready to partner, or are you going to be another task for her? Marriage is a whole lot more than just feeling, it’s working.
But here’s the joy of it all. The more I realize the work your mom does around the house, the more I miss her just being here. She is just as much my teammate in the work as she is in the dugout banter. I don’t just miss her helping with the work, I miss talking to her during the work, laughing with her about it all, and relaxing with her when we successfully finish it all. Also, when we give “good game” butt pats, we can let our hands linger without it getting weird.
Too much of the world thinks that the way we feel about someone will solve all of our problems in marriage. So many people believe that “happily ever after” will come easily when they find “the one”. That is false. Marriage does involve infatuation, but even more so it involves a daily choice to love, and it involves working together. When you find a girl that you’re thinking of taking all of that on with, make sure you’re both ready to support the team.
I love you, son.
1 Corinthians 1:4
Christian, husband, father, and pastor. Also a proud and dedicated nerd. One of the dads at TheDadLetters.com and author of TheLivesIHaveLived.wordpress.com.