Sitting on the edge of the bed this morning, I looked over at my wife’s slowly stirring figure. I watched her stretch beneath the blankets and finish with that little squeal that means it was a good stretch. She yawned, covering her mouth with the back of her hand like she always does. Her eyes focused and she slowly smiled at me.
I smiled back, knowing in that moment I was exactly where I was supposed to be in my life.
Before heading to work, I slipped a note into her lunch:
You make every day better because of loving you.
It wasn’t until arriving at work that a Facebook post informed me it was National Women’s Day. It made me think of how the women in my life — especially my wife, daughters and mother — are a constant inpiration, and how the gift of their presence is something worth celebrating every day.
It’s true that the degree of celebration may vary sometimes with my teen daughter depending on her mood. However, she has a wonderful complexity that, though challenging, has helped me become a better father. Not to mention she’s the one who keeps me hip, plugged in and “extremely cool” (I’m quoting myself). Without her advice and insight into modern culture and social media trends, I would probably be wearing white vans and clueless as to why teenagers were yelling, “Damn, Daniel!” Her humor often catches me off guard, which in itself is a gift that more than makes up for the occasional girl stomp or exaggerated sigh that causes me to grit my teeth and turn to DubSmash for comfort.
Again, without her I wouldn’t even know what DubSmash was. Or that it’s not really cool anymore.
Though I blame my oldest daughter for being easy to raise, therefore setting an unrealistic expectation bordering on parental entrapment, I realize it’s not her fault. Besides, had her brother been born first, I probably wouldn’t have her in my life at all — because he would have been an only child. Instead, I have spent the last 22 years marveling at her confidence and initiative. She was born an old soul whose insightfulness I’m fortunate to have in my life — and smile proudly at — as a father.
Each Wednesday, I’m reminded of where I came from while visiting with my mom over coffee. She had me when she was just 17. In a way, we grew up together — a child raising a child — creating a special bond and shared perspective of humor, love and what it takes to persevere through tough times. My father’s alcoholism lead to a broken family and ultimately divorce. But her love has been a constant force in my life, as well as her optimism about it. She encouraged my creativity and helped me understand its value and importance. And still does.
Plus, she’s weird like me.
Each day became better for me 10 years ago when I met my wife. It was a connection that was instantaneous and complete, lighting up the world in a way I had never seen it before. Her wisdom and warmth have not only made me a better person, but loving her has made me the kind of man and father I want to be. She is my confidant, best friend, conscience and partner in crime. Someone who understands my point before the words leave my mouth — and even more importantly, her perspectives and example have made what leaves my mouth an improvement. I laugh harder, love more deeply and strive to live in the moment because of what we share.
Because I don’t want to miss a single moment.
As I sat on the bed watching my wife awaken this morning, I had no idea it was National Women’s Day.
But truth be told, every day is worth celebrating the incredible women in my life…