Now, every time I talk with him through the backyard fence I'm reminded of the 90's hit TV show Home Improvement. Our talks are sometimes reminiscent of those between the characters Tim "the toolman" Taylor and his neighbor, Wilson (minus the weird grunting noises). My neighbor is like Wilson: cool, experienced, collected, and wise. I oftentimes feel like Tim: flying through life untethered, making mistakes every which way.
My neighbor and I were both in the back yard, separated by the red-stained wooden privacy fence. He wanted to know details of Lily's birth. I still hadn't fully comprehended what had just happened to our lives. We were new parents. I was relaying the birthing events to him and talk turned to our wives. I mentioned that I was in awe of the entire experience, saying that Michelle couldn't have been more strong throughout the process. My neighbor's eyes filled with tears, and he gave a faint smile, saying, "She will continue to impress you."
On Mother's Day, I can't get this moment out of my mind. It was the look in his eyes and the fact the he was willing to share the emotion welling up in them. My neighbor couldn't have been more correct: I've grown more fond of my wife, Michelle, now that she is a mother. Her one year of motherhood has shown her resilience, dedication, and unwavering devotion.
She reads countless books about baby development and parenting, incorporating how she wants to parent, all without becoming completely obsessed about one "right" way.
She is always planning and preparing everything for Lily--at home and at daycare--while she expertly balances the life of a career woman.
She rolls with the punches when things don't pan out as planned.
She is a career woman.
She never complains through the trials and sacrifices of breastfeeding.
She is often tired.
Have I mentioned she is a career woman?
She is grounded.
She is the best mom.
She continues to impress me.
Fatherhood seems to be an exclusive club among other men. When guys who are dads find out that they are both dads the conversations linger on our kids. In those moments you learn a great deal about the other man. This happens to me all the time: among close friends, colleagues at work, guys at the barbershop where I get my hair cut, and even strangers I randomly meet. The cool thing about this exclusive dad club is that we also talk about our partners--the moms. While we know the dad club is cool, we also recognize the mom club is soooo much cooler. My daughter, Lily, knows this too. She is perfectly fine and happy when her and I are alone together, however the moment Michelle enters the room I become chopped liver and she definitely prefers mom. Oddly, though, Lily says "dad" when prompted to say "mom." Lily smiles and laughs every time she does it. I think she might be enjoying this little trick, almost as if she is planing some sort of surprise, building the anticipation for when she decides to spring the word "mom" on Michelle for the first time.
We've been anticipating spending this Mother's Day celebrating such an amazing person.