I see you.
I see you get up earlier than you’d like to walk the dog, to make lunches for the boys, to wash-their-faces-brush-their-teeth-comb-their-hair in our one bathroom early enough so you can have a few moments in there to yourself before that bus alarm.
I see you commute further than most of your coworkers who don’t need to think about public schools with autism services.
I see you work late, 1 hour, 2 hour, 3 hours late, and still hustle home to try to make the bedtime ritual. I don’t know when leaving at 5pm became “not working hard enough” and I hate it for you, but I see you play that game so well, controlling the optics of who sees you at work, doing damn fine work while you’re there, and still making our family a priority.
I see you leave for business trips by plane, by train, by carpooling with coworkers, and I know your introverted soul shrinks at all the social niceties and politics you must play on this trips, and I see you nevertheless do it well. I see you take a deep breath and pack your suitcase and go back out, because it’s part of the job, and this job makes our life here possible.
I see that on Saturdays, the house is a little cleaner when I return from teaching than when I left. I don’t see you cleaning since I’m not home, but I know our boys, so I know it’s you.
I see you set up the diffuser at night so I have one less obstacle between me and finally getting in bed (one more thing, I say, one more thing to do…)
I see that you are weary. I see how the dark, cold, New England winters pull you down. I see how you work so hard, give so much, and have so much less freedom to do fun things, new things, on a whim things than your peers. And I see how in all of that, you never give up. You get out of bed and keep going.
I see how you educate people about attachment parenting, about breastfeeding, about autism, about special education, about all these things you surely never thought you’d have to think about, but here you are standing up for it because it’s important to our family, and I see how fiercely you love and protect our family.
You asked me to take your last name when we married because you wanted us all, you, me, and our future children, to share a name. To be a Team. I saw that family in your eyes when you told me this, and I had no idea what our future held, but I wanted to do it with you. That spark, that dream you had, I see you fight for it, slave for it, prioritize it, day after day. It is harder than we ever imagined, and it is richer too, and it began with you.
I see you. I love you.