I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my makeup was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100 percent has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere.
But there were days when we would lay in bed and binge watch Netflix. They were my favorite. The thought of being with you for the whole weekend got me through the week. We’d run down the street to our favorite Mexican place, eat until we were stuffed, grab some ice cream, and watch “Chuck” until we fell asleep. We’d laugh until we cried. And we wouldn’t wake up the next morning until we felt like it.
Remember all those Saturday’s we’d hop in the car and drive? Anywhere. Or we’d call up a few friends and ask them to meet us downtown in like  minutes? We didn’t have to be home at a certain time. If we stayed out late, it was fine because we could take a nap the next day. We went on lots of adventures, didn’t we?
And you got all of me. The very best parts.
Our life looks so much different now. It’s all we’ve ever wanted.
But you get the last of me.
When you get home, I’ve had as many toddler tantrums as I can possibly take. The baby is on my hip or reaching up for me or following me around. Dinner is always on the stove and I’m doing a hundred things at one time to make sure everyone’s blood sugar doesn’t drop before they grow three heads. The house is normally a mess. Toys are scattered everywhere. I yell over the whining baby and the noisy TV something about your day. You sit down and say, “I’ll tell you later.” Or you start to tell me and we get interrupted a thousand times because someone needs me or one of us have to intervene before they try to kill each other.
Finally, after we battle bath time, toothbrush tantrums, and ALL.THE.STALLING for bedtime, we are finally alone. And I get to look into your sweet face for the first time that day. You’re like a breath of fresh air, still. And gah, you’re so handsome.
Our days are now scheduled. There is no picking-up-going-there last minute. That doesn’t work with two toddlers. When we do go on dates, much-needed dates, we’re always watching the clock making sure we fit everything in before the babysitter needs to leave. Those moments with you are precious and they go by way too fast. There isn’t much binge-watching Netflix anymore. It happens, but we normally both are asleep after two episodes. And sleep in? Bahaha. Funny.
But this life, these babies, they are all we’ve ever wanted. It might be messy and crazy, but it’s the beautiful kind. All the “freedoms” of our past are now met with sloppy kisses and Sofia the First. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. I know you wouldn’t either.
But I want you to know, Honey, that I loved you first.
I know it feels like they need me for everything right now because they do. I know you feel sometimes you have to fight for my attention. Most days there just isn’t enough of me to go around. Believe me, I wish there were more!
But the absolute best thing we can do for our children is to let them watch our love. I think this is where some marriages go wrong. They forget that they loved each other first and then when their kids are gone, they don’t know one another anymore. I get it. It’s easy to do.
It’s really hard to do on the days when I look like a character out of an animated movie. That’s even after I run to the bathroom real fast before you get home and smear lipstick across my lips. It’s hard for them to watch our love those times in restaurants when we’re just trying to not make a scene. When you catch the flying toys and I catch the food. Man, we’re a good team! It’s hard when I’m passing goldfish to the back seat and we’re screaming conversation over sibling wars. It’s hard for them to watch our love when we try to cuddle on the couch but before we know it someone either face planted off the other one, or someone’s feet are climbing on top of us.
But those seconds when I steal a kiss before you walk out the door. Or the moments in between chaos when I nestle up close and breathe you in. Those moments are everything. When everyone is asleep and the only sound in the house is the sound machines through the monitors, when we lay in bed cuddled up, pouring out our hearts. Those are now my favorite. When you still hold my hand and you give me space to dream and push me when I’ve lost the courage. When you tell me over and over how thankful you are for all I do.
Really, I’m the thankful one. You are a treasure. A perfect gift. One I often take for granted. You are patient and kind. You are selfless. You are the hardest working man I know. I can’t imagine doing this life with anyone else but you. I guess I just want you to know that I see you. And it might not always seem this way. I realize you often get the last of me. The tired, messy, short-tempered last of me, but I love you first. You’re still my favorite.
You see, these little ones that need so much from us right now, won’t be little forever. They’re already growing so much faster than we’d like. One day, we’ll have a Friday night when we don’t need a babysitter and I’ll get to listen to every new recruit our team has signed. I’m sure I’ll go on and on about some crazy idea I have and you’ll shake your head and tell me to go for it. And then these years, the ones we’re living, will be only memories.
It’ll be just us again. And we’ll be talking about the way Selah used to say “posgot” or the way Micah covered his mouth when something was really funny. We’ll remember how dog tired we were. And we’ll miss these days (maybe not the tired part). We’ll miss the sacred time we steal away to be together. We’ll miss stealing those kisses during Sofia or flirting in the kitchen. But these moments, of us loving each other first, will be the ones that shape our love forever.
So I’ll finish cleaning up downstairs, and you put that one to bed. She’s going to ask you for two more stories and probably some more lemonade. Remember… just stay no. You might get the very last of me, and we’ll probably both fall asleep. But let’s watch that new show. Let me lay my head on your chest and let’s soak each other in. Hold my hand because pretty soon, all too soon, the sun will rise, and we’ll be responsible for shepherding two sweethearts.
You are everything to me.
Both now and forever.