When we got married, I knew that Jeremy was going to be a good dad, but after actually having children he is not just "good" he's exceptional. Being a military family and having to raise children in this demanding, unpredictable environment is not easy. Sacrifice comes in many forms, and every one is so personal. Jeremy has had to leave us behind to serve and defend so many times and as hard as it was for me, I know it was harder for him- I got to be with N and watch him grow. Jeremy missed so much, and all I could do was take a million photos and videos and document it the best I could.
After we finally put sea duty behind us, life was still arduous. N was not used to having Jeremy around. He would see Jeremy in the morning and scream and cry, only wanted me to rock him and would only go to me for anything he wanted- literally the day he let Jeremy fill up his cup of juice was a major victory that brought me to tears. It broke my heart to see how hard that time was for both of them. But Jeremy was so incredible. He let N have his space even though it crushed him. Can you imagine not being able to hug your child or even just sit next to them, that little human you love more than anyone, because they are not used to you? And the reason they are not used to you is because you HAD to leave them behind to serve your country and hopefully give that child a better life? Seriously, it rips your heart right out. When we lived with my mom while Jeremy was in Japan, one of the saddest moments that put our military life into perspective was when my mom left for work the first time after we moved in. She told N, "Okay I will see you after work!" N was totally confused and said, "Tomorrow?" She said, "No, I will see you today after I am done working." To which N replied, "Today!!! You come back after work today?" She said, "Yes, I will see you every day when I get back from work." N was totally baffled by that small fact of life... Because he knew that when Daddy left for work he never knew when he was coming back or how long he'd get to stay with us (which also created his extreme separation anxiety starting at 10 months old.) It took months, yes months, for N to fully warm up to the idea of having Daddy around all the time... fast forward 2 years and they are thick as thieves! We are so thankful that Jeremy doesn't have to have the same experience with L - he has been here the whole time and L will never know what it is like to have Daddy leaving all the time.
As parents, you often want more for you kids than you had yourself - sometimes that may come in the form of a home, education opportunities or maybe it's the people that surround them. Personally, I wanted a man that loved our children in a way that I couldn't even properly put into words... I wanted our children to know unconditional love from a strong, patient, loving man. One that pays attention to them and enjoys being with them, is proud of them no matter what they do and tells them often. I wanted my children to have a father that hugged them often and gave them an incredible childhood filled with memories that make them know, to their core, that they are loved by him. Fatherhood is so much more than just having kids and hoping for the best. When our boys grow up I pray they turn out like their father. He is showing them every step of the way how to be a good man and husband. The boys watch him take care of me, their chronically ill mother with love and tenderness. He never blames me for not feeling well, and helps ease my guilt when I cannot do things. He encourages N to do kind things and be mindful of his actions all the time, but especially when I am not feeling well. Our children watch this amazing man take something that others would only see as a burden and help transform it into our beautiful, loving amazing life together. There have been many hard days and I am sure there will be more to come, but because of this God-given man at the head of our family, our children will know that there always was and always will be a soul-changing love at our foundation.
So on this upcoming Father's Day, and everyday, I want my husband to know I am so thankful for him, blessed by his love for our family and so proud of the man that he is.
"A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father."
- Frank Abagnale