I know there is a day set aside for fathers especially but I wanted to take this Mother’s Day and thank my husband. First and foremost I want to thank him for the gorgeous little girl who shares half of his DNA. It takes two to tango after all. 😉
Second, I want to thank him for supporting me throughout my pregnancy, for every back rub, ice cream run, every night you cooked dinner, and reading to my bump when it was barely a bump. I know it is hard for men to realize their role as a father while their partner is pregnant but you cared, you engaged, you became a father when I showed you the plus sign on that test.
Third, for not backing down in the delivery room. You held my leg and you got in there and watched our daughter be born. Your strength is the reason I got through labor, the reason I found it in myself to dig deep and push.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, I want to thank you for the way you support my ability to parent. Our situation is somewhat unique. Your deployment means I am solo parenting and you have to be away for nearly the entire first year of our daughter’s life.
But do not doubt that you have a significant impact on her life at the moment. Because of you I find the strength to get up at 6 am after 4 hours of sleep (rarely all at once). Because of you I am able to present my kindest, most patient self when our daughter is difficult. Because of you she and I will never want for comfort and security. Because of you, I understand I must fill my cup before I have anything to give to our child.
Giving birth may have made me a mother, but you make me a good one.
I love you.
When the gray mornings of a humid, drizzly day cause my hair to frizz and fray.
When my tears leech through my mascara darkened eyelashes in black rivulets down my cheeks.
Before I wash the night’s sleep from my face .
Standing under the harsh truthfulness of white fluorescent lights.
When the stress of the day bows his shoulders down like Atlas.
When the night is dark and the moon has shut its eye to steal the little light it gives.
When I dressed all in white and took his hands for life.
When he wiped the sweat from my brow with the edge of my ugly hospital gown.
When my nose is red and I can’t stop coughing and fever blurs my eyes.
When his voice cuts in and out from the strain of transmitting from thousands of miles away.
When he hasn’t even seen my face for several weeks on end.
My love tells me I am beautiful even when I don’t deserve it.
My love tells me I am beautiful and I am starting to believe him.
Because when he tells me I am beautiful it isn’t what he’s seeing, my love tells me I am beautiful because of what he’s feeling.
Sinking into the nether
/Absence of space/
Will the light extinguished
No air to breathe
Smothering the flames
Inverting the energy
Of a sun
Collapsing into negative space.
You have never read a love letter until you have read one sent home to a soldier’s lover
And if you are not that soldier or his lover it is unlikely you will ever
Until their lives have waned and their years have been spent
And the pain of that distance has faded to a wistful reminisce.
You have never read a letter filled with so much palpable longing
And an honesty so profound it bleeds onto your fingers like spilled ink
And capped with a sign off of resignation and the literary equivalent of a sigh
As he hurries through the hastily scrawled pages to not say goodbye.
I love my soldier. I will treasure his hand written letters all the days of my life.
A soldier’s Wife
How could we have known this love would be a source of both pain and ecstasy when you caught my eye under the dingy white tarp of that festival tent and the electricity of a coming storm danced under our skin?
That separation was inevitable and the string of fate would span an ocean, stretched as thin as a spider’s webbing, cutting into the flesh of our hearts where it knotted all those days ago when I looked back at you and knew life would never be the same?
How could I have known I would be so lucky as to possess a love that would cause such longing in the dark expanse of lonely nights?
How could I have known the blessing of the pain of missing you far outweighs the numbness of never having known you?
How could I have known that a deployment would make me love you even more than I ever dreamed a soul could love, deeper than the unknown depths of the ocean floor, longer than the infinity of this universe?
I know there will come a day
When our daughter does not know your absence
When the distance between you and her
Is bridged and Daddy returns
The day when playtime is physical
Not seen through the screen
Of a “smartphone” that still doesn’t understand
The power of human contact.
And the USO story times become fables
As you build forts under Minnie Mouse comforters
And she follows the words you point at as you read.
And you enjoy homemade cookies fresh from the oven
Still steaming when you crack them open.
And you come home to find our love for you is still the same.
Slats of sunlight dapple
the edges of my memories
twirling in the kitchen
laying sideways in our bed
blinding our view of the television
where we curled up each evening
the warming Spring days meant open
strolls across the railroad tracks
during lengthening evening twilight
holding hands, our breaths
as we wait for separation
a year long pacing back and forth
slowly becoming numb
with every creeping day.
I hope that love finds our daughter like it found me. That the stars align to find her soulmate has been there the whole time. Waiting. Waiting for the moment when everything is right, when the complications of her life have resolved to the point of sustained happiness.
I hope that love whispers softly into her dreams like the scent of a garden wafting on lofty breezes trampezing through sun baked air.
I hope that love finds her with kindness, seeking to elevate her, hold her up to find she is worth more than she believed herself to be. That violence is blinded by the glare of a gentle soul seeking in her the self same care.
I hope that love finds her through the heart of a loving partner who holds her hand each time it nears their own. Who says, “I’m sorry,” regardless of who was wrong. Who nurses no ill will even to those who’ve done them harm.
I hope she finds somebody like you.