We fell in love over comedy films, pizza date nights, campus snow closures, beach trips, and shared meals at the college cafeteria. We stood beside each other at our graduations, held each other close on the dance floor at friends’ weddings, and felt our hands tire and cramp as we signed a heap of documents during the closing for our first home. We didn’t have cable or real furniture until six months after we moved in, and we spent many nights laughing through Scrubs DVDs and eating cheap, processed food from the comfort of our Ikea futon. What we lacked in money, we made up for in love.
The earliest days of our relationship are long gone, buried in time. Even though many things in our lives have changed, the memories of our first years together remain and I hold them close to my heart. Before we were married, before we became parents, when our biggest worries in life were waking up on time for class, preparing for finals, and ironing clothes for our new jobs. When you were just John, the cute guy with the funny accent, and I was just Jess, the tall, awkward girl with the horrible short haircut. (Seriously, what was I thinking with that haircut? I wish I had a picture to share, but our college photos are still packed away.)
These days it’s sometimes hard to recall who we were before parenthood. Sure, you’re still you and I’m still me, but having two kids in just as many years has made it difficult to take a breath and step outside of our roles as mother and father. Even on date nights where we’re supposed to be focused on each other, we spend the majority of our time together talking about our girls… Because our lives mostly revolve around them right now. We’ve fallen deeply into parenting two little babies – tiny, wonderful people who have enriched our lives immensely, brought us great joy, challenged us, and made us stronger partners.
This, like all the other moments we’ve shared together, is a phase. It’s an intense season filled with lots of sunshine, warmth and sometimes tornadoes and monsoons. The overall climate depends on just how much our three-year-old slept the night before and whether the ten-month-old is cutting teeth. But just like any other phase, it’s temporary and fleeting. As things begin to change again and our babies turn into kids that need us less, one constant will remain: our love. We began our journey together as partners in love, and we’ll continue that way through all the moments of our life.
Parenting babies is a trip, and it’s easy to lose yourself along the way. Sometimes as we’re going through the daily grind, it may seem as though I’ve forgotten you. Please know that I haven’t. Even though we’re immersed in our new roles right now, you’re still my friend and partner; the man that I love. As our babies grow older, I look forward to getting reacquainted with you (and myself) over time. No matter where life’s journey takes us, I’ll be waiting for you as we begin the next phase – always. I promise I’ll never forget you or leave you behind.