Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gifts from Two of the Men in My Life

I have heard it said that we choose husbands that are similar to our dads. Although my husband of 23 years (as of June 11), is different than my dad in many ways, they have a few very important things in common. First, they have both loved me for who I am no matter what decisions I have made in life and second, they have both taught me to listen to my heart and follow what feels right for me.    

Growing up, my dad was always my "go to" person when I was sad or had difficult decisions to make in life.  When I shared secrets with him, he never made me feel guilty for the choices I made.  He would often just hold me and let me cry it out or lead me through some questions that made me think rather than giving me advice on what I should do.  He always reminded me that only I knew the answer that was right for me.  This has been a very important lesson for me throughout my life and one I hope I am transferring over to my own kids. 

My husband Steve has seen me through my best and worst days.  Through our 23 years together, we have experienced more "ups" than "downs" I think.  But, during the "down" times, he has shown me a strength and love that has made me love him more than I could have ever imagined.  Really, he is the stronger one of the two of us.  His heart is kinder than mine and I continue to learn a lot from him each and every day.

One of the greatest gifts my husband has given me is the gift of listening to my heart when it comes to our children. When I was pregnant I read a ton of books on pregnancy and childbirth.  Then I moved on to books about raising your kids.  Plus, I had lots of advice from family and friends.  I thought I had it all figured out. 

When Alexander was born, I tried listening to what the books and people said about sleeping arrangements with a baby.  I tried putting him in the cradle next to our bed and I tried waking up in the middle of the night to nurse him in a rocking chair.  It never felt right.  I liked having his body close to mine as frequently as possible.    One night when I was in a foul mood and woke up to nurse Alexander, Steve said, "Why don't you just sleep with him? When he is in bed with you, both of you sleep."

I remember vividly the first night all three of us went to bed together.  I briefly woke to latch Alexander on for nursing several times throughout the night but then fell right back to sleep.  There were no more nights of sleeping in a rocking chair as I tried to get him back to sleep.  There were no more nights of my heart feeling empty because he wasn't close to me.  The best thing, we all woke up next to each other and the two of us spent time cooing over our little guy.  What a great way to start a day!  I knew that first night that this was the direction my heart was pulling me.  This was the right decision for my family and I was so thankful to my husband for leading me down this road.

We continued to practice attachment parenting, following our hearts and raising kids that are out of this world wonderful!  Sometimes it has been hard for Steve I think because the kids have often come first.  I devote a lot of time to them which means he doesn't always get a lot of attention.  He has always understood that yet, he also is good at letting me know when the time has come that he needs some attention too.  I am glad for that because I would never want to lose the connection we have.

My kids are my contribution to this world.  The love that I can pour into them now is the love that they will pour back out into this world.  What I love about my husband is that he supports each and every parenting decision that I make and he keeps me grounded when I feel confused.  He guides me to make good decisions that make my masterpieces, my children, that much more wonderful! He encourages me to follow my heart and be the person that I am meant to be. 

I know I am a lucky woman to have had two amazing men in my life that love me for who I am not matter what.  I am lucky that the man I married is similar to my dad in that they have both loved me unconditionally.  The only thing either one has asked of me is to love them back.  So, I am glad that I chose a man to spend my life with that has the core similarities as my dad.  Thank you Dad for giving me a high standard to look for in life. Thank you Steve for being my source of strength and love.