I am a stay-at-home Dad raising a child with high functioning Autism. I am many other things, but that statement has come to define me.
Those were the first words I ever wrote on this blog.
Today, however, I want to talk about one of those "many other things" I am. Eight years ago today, I married the coolest chick on the planet.
7 years ago today, the coolest chick on the planet went into labor with our boy (Happy Anniversary!), an event that would change our roles as husband and wife, change our roles as mom and dad, and change our roles as lovers.
We don't have an incredibly complicated or dramatic birthing story... there were some minor bumps, but in the end, it all went well... something odd I remember, perhaps trivial, was that it was raining the day both of my children were born... Odd because it only rains 20-25 days a year in Southern California. As if the Heavens were giving the Earth one last good cleansing before the arrival of my children... decent of Mother Earth.
I digress... Three years later (around his birthday) Jack was in the process of being diagnosed with a developmental delay/disorder... autism. And our roles changed again.
6 months after that, our beautiful Jade was born... and our roles changed again. That's when we decided that I was going to quit my job to be a stay-at-home dad. Jack had some sort of therapy or schooling almost every single day, and it was evident that one of us needed to be there for that.
My wife had the (much better) job that could support the family. My wife is an attorney, a civil litigator, which (according to the movie Clueless) is the scariest kind of attorney. What did that mean to us? Lots and lots of long hours. Or as she sees it, lots and lots of long hours away from her children and husband. Over the years there have been many missed weekends and separate vacations and missed milestones, all in the name of providing for the family. We've talked about it a lot over the years. The guilt she faces. The guilt she feels. The double-standard of society saying "how can you be away from your children", yet if the man was working many hours how he'd be seen as a Hero and great provider. I'll have her write a blog about how she feels about that, and how she handles it, and, most importantly, triumphs in the face of it, because it's not really my story to tell.
So, where am I going with all this?
Today is our anniversary... 8 years. And I wanted to write something to tell her how much she means to me, to all of us. I wanted to write something about how our roles have changed. Something about how we're doing it different than the average family, but it still gets done.
So, since I know she's going to read this, this is what I want to say to my wife... to my bride, to my friend, to my son's champion, to my daughter's heart and soul, to my legal counsel, to my harshest critic, and to the one that holds my pure admiration.
Baby Love, life is a series of choices; some good some bad. Some made by us, some made by others. Our family is the result of a series of good choices, with hopefully many more to come.
I think back to our wedding day... it was beautiful. Everything went perfect. We had so many friends and family there to celebrate our love. I couldn't ask for anything more.
A perfect day, eight years ago. We were so in love and young...
Yet here I am eight years later even more in love with you.
"You are in my blood like holy wine. You taste so bitter, but you're so sweet. I could drink a case of you, and still be on my feet. I would still be on my feet."
Happy Anniversary, Baby Love.