To My Husband, On Father’s Day

Saralyn Ward | @themamasagas | Guest Contributor

Do you remember the year we were engaged?

I loved that time in our lives. Cliché as it is, that year was nothing short of magical. It was a year marked by the thrill of untethered love, the warmth of devotion, the excitement of possibility, and the joy of celebration.

We were younger then, not quite babies, but even still, in our infancy. We were deeply in love; two people who wanted nothing more than to share a life together, journeying side by side into the unknowns of adulthood.

On our wedding day, we chose to recite traditional vows rather than write our own: there is, after all, something sacred about reading the vows generations upon generations upon generations have spoken. There is something beautiful in their simplicity: from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish…

Yet today, six years and one house and two babies and five new jobs and countless memories later, those simple vows--though still beautiful--are simply the beginning. Now I understand the words we spoke on our wedding day were a blueprint for a life and a love we could not, in that moment, fully comprehend. Over the years, this love has deepened.We have been presented with challenges--opportunities, really--to expand what it means to love fully, without restriction or condition. And nothing, NOTHING, has done that quite like parenting.

When our first child was born, I was turned upside down. It was as if the moment she entered the world a switch flipped immediately altering my outlook on life, love, and the future. We  were responsible for another human life. Witnessing the physical incarnation of a love that had previously existed only in the abstract blew my mind. Our tiny baby and our charge to raise her became the epicenter of our lives.  Suddenly things that never mattered much in the first place began falling away, and things we never knew were important rose to the surface.

In the upside-down-whirlwind of being parents, sometimes my shortfalls come rushing through me. In those moments, temper flaring and shame rising, I retreat, even while the smallest voice inside whispers I need you. Not because I need you to fix the situation or to fix me, and not even because I need you to say anything. Rather, I  need your presence to remind me  of the love we vowed to share and protect--the same love that has multiplied as our family has grown--until I’m convinced to love myself too. And then I soften.

I see you experience the same in moments when our kids, or when I, try your patience. . Watching you as a father is at once enlightening and charming. When you are with our daughters, I see the love you have for them. I see how it is expanding you, too, and I fall in love with you all over again.

The author's husband, Tom, and the couple's two daughters. 

The author's husband, Tom, and the couple's two daughters. 

This Father’s Day, I don’t have much of an elaborate gift other than to say this: experiencing this parenthood journey with you has meant so much more than I ever could have imagined the day we said our vows. My oath today is what we said and more:

I vow to continue evolving, and to give you permission to do the same.

I promise to hold space for your dreams, to allow you to explore them without fear or judgment.

For better, I will speak your praises to our children. For worse, I will speak to you in private.

I vow to look for the best in every situation, every child, and every moment with you.

I promise to learn from your patience, cherish your spontaneity, and remember neither of us has all the answers.

I vow, even as my love and attention stretch to accommodate our beautiful family, I will give you the best of my love, always.

I will grow with you and next to you, as long as we both shall live.

Happy Father’s Day to the man I married. I love you.

Saralyn Ward is a media maven, wellness warrior, and founder of The Mama Sagas. Saralyn hosts a regular parenting segment on Colorado’s Everyday Show and her writing has appeared on Huff Post, elephant journal, Colorado Parent Magazine, Dance Magazine, and FitPro Magazine. When she’s not playing a parenting expert on TV, she’s trying to remember the two feisty little girls that call her mom are not the boss of her. You can connect with Saralyn on Facebook, and Instagram.