To the man I have loved for ten years . . .

Watching you become a father has meant more love than I ever knew possible. You have always been so amazing with children and, long before you knew, I knew that I wanted you to be the father of my children. I knew you were the man I wanted with me as I walked through life.

I never meant for us to become parents so quickly, but sharing that first pregnancy with you was sweet and amazing. That first delivery was the most terrifying experience of my life. The night I was in labor all night and you held me propped up in the bathtub with your knees and body so that I could sleep between contractions--such a tender memory. As I thought I was going to die before this 52-hour labor ended, you encouraged me and I will never forget the sight of your face when you first saw her head. Your eyebrows said it all.

That night as we held our first baby in our arms . . . I had loved you for almost four years. But I loved you in so many new ways.

When Charlie was born, it was less terrifying but no less amazing.

But the most fantastic part was the night you crawled under the table playing with Melody in my mother's kitchen as I talked to Billy about adopting Dixie and I knew I didn't even have to ask you if you thought this was a good idea. You just reached up and squeezed my hand, said 'yes' and continued to play. No other man would respond that way.

I know none of this was in your plans for life. I know I never imagined we'd have three kids by our fourth anniversary or that you'd be unemployed for so damn long. This isn't the life we imagined at all. But you have been so strong and willing through all of it.

I love watching you be a daddy. I love watching our children love each other. It makes it all worth it. It makes it all possible.

As we start this next journey of testing and finding a diagnosis, I am already starting exhausted. But you start everything with the same energy and love. And I love you for it. When I screamed angrily at the universe, you held me. When I am mad at God and myself for what is going on, you hold me tighter.

You always clean up my messes. And I always get pissed off at you. And you always love me still.

We can do this. For Charlie, for Dixie, for Melody and for Ourselves. I never imagined parenthood would take us on this impossible journey, but I am so glad that you are the man walking beside me through it all.


Lori said...

Not sure what's going on, but you guys are in my thoughts.

Mom_2_Boo_and_Roo said...

That was beautiful. Now I am crying.

Alisha said...

Oh Gretchen... that was beautiful

Nikki said...

I think that was beautiful!! I've gotten to know you so much over the last 2 years or so and I'm so glad to have you in my life. You are a blessing to Dowlan, your children and all those that know you!!

Love you!!! VBS starts tomorrow....you coming?

Betsy said...

That is too sweet. :) I am with Mom 2 Boo and Roo, crying in my chair here... hope all is well.

Ksagstetter said...

You know, whenever someone talks about a person as being kind, or generous, or selfless, the first thought that pops into my head is you and Dowlan. You guys have been such an inspiration in the 10 years (!) I've known you--I don't know anyone else who, when someone is in pain or needs help, doesn't even hesitate or debate--you're just there, helping in whatever way you can. It's not even an issue or a question. When you told me you were thinking of adopting Dixie, I wasn't surprised--a little girl needed a home and love, and you could give it to her. When it looked like you wouldn't be able to, I could hear the sadness in your voice, because you'd already begun thinking of her as yours. I wasn't a bit surprised when you unexpectedly came home with another child that Christmas, and I knew you'd love her and help her like no one else could. I love you guys with all my heart. And I'm crying too, btw, right in a public coffee shop :)

sarah said...

Our first son was born on my husband's and my 2-year anniversary (from our first date)...we are approaching our first wedding anniversary this August, and we now have 2 children. It's always encouraging to hear about other couples who had children early into their relationships and are still going strong!

Trace said...

What a beautiful post : )