This is a picture of my husband and I almost 12 years ago. We were just kids, fresh off the freeway after relocating from the Bay Area to Seattle, a city neither of us had ever lived in before. But you can tell in our smiles that we were so excited for this new life and to make Seattle "our city." We had no idea what we were doing, and no clue that over the coming months we would discover the best and worst about ourselves, or that we would be still be together 12 years later with the most adorable baby imaginable.
We've got simple plans for Father's Day today, full of all the things my strong and sensitive and thoughtful husband loves: movies, ramen, and family time, but there's so much more that I want to give him. I'm the first to admit that I'm not the most thoughtful person on the planet — I'm terrible with gifts and sometimes forget that we even have an anniversary — and I'm not the most sensitive either; I don't often gush about how much I love him and how he still makes my heart beat a little faster, I'm not into PDA, and I hate buying drugstore birthday cards that so obviously try too hard. So making these 10 promises to him on this especially significant Father's Day is the best gift I can imagine giving, because all of these are straight from the heart and I'm much better at writing things down than I am at saying them face-to-face. Though, he'd be pretty pumped for an Apple Watch or drone, too. I guess that's still a possibility.
But for now, this is the best of me.
- Make more time for us. We used to make fun of people that needed a "date night," but now I see how important dedicating time to each other really is. We get busy with work and our baby and our lives that we need to check in with each other more often, reconnect, and remember the important moments that made us.
- Make more time for our family. We both have obligations and expectations, but building a strong and happy family foundation for Fisher is the most important thing to both of us. I promise to make exploring the world together a priority this year.
- Stay present. We're both guilty of checking Facebook or Twitter or news feeds when we sit down to eat, go for walks, or in the quiet moments between meal times, errands, and chores. I promise to put my phone down more often, because there's nothing more important to me in this world than those small moments with you and our smart, smiling, hilarious, and happy baby. He really is a reflection of the two of us, and I couldn't be more proud.
- Feel better about where we are right now. I'm always looking for ways to create a better life for us. Whether it's a higher position at work, a side hustle to earn more money, or starting a business so I can work from home and be the mom I never knew I wanted to be. It's just who I am: I want more and I want everything. I want so badly for us to create the rules for our lives and not be tied down by paychecks, that I get lost in my own daydreams. But I realize now that while I'm daydreaming about the life that's possible and making plans to get us there, I could be missing out on the life we have right now. And life right now is beautiful.
- Hold your hand more often. We were proud of ourselves for being "that couple" that still held hands after year eight, but somewhere along the lines we forgot. I promise to make regular hand-holding happen again in year 12, 13, and beyond. And not just because I feel like we should but because it connects us, even in those mundane moments at Target.
- Do a better job at listening. I'm quick to get on the defensive and it's a trait I'm constantly trying to reign in at work, but shamefully, you've still been on the receiving end at home. It should be the other way around, and I'm sorry for that. Rather than thinking of ways to defend myself against your feelings, I promise to listen to what you're saying instead.
- Be patient. Not everything will, or needs to, happen in the timeframe that I want it to and getting upset about this truth won't make it any better. I promise to take more breaths and trust that all things will happen in their own time instead of getting frustrated and lashing out.
- Communicate. I don't always share my feelings or opinions because I don't want to upset you. But I've learned that holding it all in makes it worse on me, and eventually when I explode, makes it worse on you, too. I promise to communicate what I'm thinking and feeling more often so we can work through it together, instead of trying to ignore it all by myself.
- Be proud of myself. I'm my own worst enemy. I'm incredibly self-conscious. I never think I'm good enough. But the longer I'm alive, the more I realize how much I do know and how much potential I have. I've been scared of this feeling in the past, because I don't want to be seen as arrogant, but I think if I just allow myself to be proud of my accomplishments (instead of silently knocking myself or saying that others would do better), it might translate into being more positive person overall, and being a better wife to you.
- Give you the credit you deserve. I've always had big dreams, and you've supported some of my more outrageous ones (two words: American Idol), so I'm not sure why I would assume that you wouldn't support my more realistic ones. I guess I've always been afraid that you wouldn't approve, but the second I tell you what I really want, you have my back, and even brag to your friends when I do something worthy of bragging about. It surprises me sometimes, but then I realize, you do it because you love me and are proud of me. And sometimes I forget to thank you for that. So I'll keep dreaming big, and I promise not to let my own self-consciousness get in the way of giving you the credit you deserve for supporting me and simply saying "thank you." Because without you, I don't know if I'd be able to do anything worth bragging about.
Happy Father's Day, Nino. I love you more every day.