Five years ago when Vanessa and I tied the knot, we knew we would be happily married, possibly have a child or two, but what we did not anticipate is who we are today as a couple, as partners and parents. Some might say that we are the same people we were back then and to some extent they would be right, but the reality is that we all change as part of the nature of life. But were I think we have dramatically changed is in our roles as caregivers to our kids.
When Tessa was born, I was finishing up school and had a consulting business. Vanessa was working at Idealab and we saw a fork in the road. The first way would mean Vanessa staying home with the kids and for me to work fulltime to support the familia. The other way would be for Vanessa to continue at her current company and for me to stay with the kids. The work I was doing allowed me more flexibility than Vanessa's work, so I ended up staying home with Tessa. I remember is was heart wrenching seeing Vanessa leave the house to go to work, but I give her so much credit for doing so. To me she wasn't just fulfilling her own career goals, but showing Tessa and later Sienna that they too can have a career and a family. To this day, I am amazed by Vanessa's strength and determination. She might not know it, but she is leading by example. Our girls will too become strong women that will have great opportunities in front of them.
So while Vanessa is at work and I'm a home learning the basics of changing diapers, feeding an infant, etc., etc. The amazing part of all this is that I never thought I would be home during the day caring for our kids and to top it off, actually enjoying it. But I made a commitment to our family that I would see our kids through their early child development. I feel strongly that having a parent at home with the kids is the greatest gift you can give your kids. Vanessa and I have moved mountains to continue this type of care for our kids and we will continue it, until it is no longer financially feasible or until the kids are all become school age.
This crazy ride that we were on took a great deal of ego swallowing for the both of us. I would get the Mr. Mom comments and Vanessa would get smirks from people when she would let them know she was a working mom. To a great extent, what needed to happen is for Vanessa and I had to mature as a adults and as parents and to just feel comfortable in the new roles her and I were taking on. I think even close friends looked at us funny. :) But never the less, we continues to chart our own course.
Fast forward five years and three kids later... we are crazy happy and punch drunk in love. I love my life with all its challenges; with all the chaos that two 1/2 kids cause and with all the challenges that a couple of five years has. The beauty is that I feel that we are constantly looking at our marriage and looking for our weaknesses and trying to make them stronger and we celebrate each amazing milestone, no matter how small. I never realized how powerful my love for Vanessa and for my kids could be. So much so that it doesn't phase me that I am a stay at home dad and I root on Vanessa as she bucks the system as a working mother. I would lie if I didn't admit that some self doubt creeps in every so often because of the tradition of the man being the bread winner and the woman staying at home with the kids, but we exercised those demons long ago.
As I reread what I have been writing, it leads me to believe that the past five years have been all about our kids, but the reality is that it's been all about the love that we have for each other. The love that got us together some 8 years ago. It is this love that we pass on to our kids and we know it will be this love coupled with understanding and alot of forgiving, that is going to be with us when we celebrate our 20, 30, 50, 60 year anniversaries.
Babe, if you are reading this. Please know that I love you today, tomorrow and forever. Thank you for five wonderful years filled with countless "firsts" and for all those amazing moments that have changed me forever.
I love you always!