Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day

Long before any notion of Father's Day, Dennis was my safe spot in the world. I remember the days when we didn't have children...when I was finishing my thesis and worried about a career and money and building my future...and falling in to his arms at night and knowing that, so long as he was at my side, all would be right in the world. He was all I needed to make it through.

And then we had Henry. Laying in the back of an ambulance during a blizzard, bleeding and terrified and hearing the paramedics say that they could not find my son's heartbeat, I reached for my husband. And I knew that we would all be okay.

And then, in Henry's infancy, we spent countless nights in hospitals. My husband held our boy in the back of an ambulance as he was transferred from one ER to another Pediatric Care Unit miles away, watching his chest rise and fall and Henry struggled to take in air. He sat with him through chest x-rays and blood draws and nebulizer treatments and oxygen tents. And, through it all, I looked at my husband, and knew we would survive.

And then I was diagnosed with diabetes. Dennis - not my doctor - was the one to break the news. Tentatively, because he knew I would flip out, he held my hand and told me that it would all be okay. (I did flip out, by the way.) He was right. It ended up more than okay.

And then when our daughter was born, and they suspected a genetic disorder, he held his little girl...looked at her...and with tears in his eyes, promised Midori that she would be okay. He held her tiny fingers all the way to Children's Hospital. He sat through the procedure to diagnose her, because he knew I would break under the weight of holding down my newborn daughter as she was poked and prodded. And, when it was over, we all held on to him.

He was there the day Midori had her first seizure, stopped breathing, and was taken to the Critical Care Unit at the hospital. He held her in the ambulance, rocking his seizing daughter, promising her that she would be fine. She was.

And then there was the night he spent awake at her side, watching her breath...watching the chest retractions...trying not to wake me as he knew that she, too, had Reactive Airway Disease and that we would be back in a hospital by morning. Finally, he woke me. I stayed home with Henry, while he sat in the ER with our daughter at four in the morning, and called me every hour to let me know that she was alright.

Of course, he has been there through the wonderful moments, too: The moments our children came in to the world...the graduations and celebrations and birthdays and vacations. He chased both kids on their bikes as they learned to ride without training wheels, and caught them before they fell. He has watched them run races and receive awards and play concerts. He's made small talk at about a hundred preschool birthday parties. He's played, "Pretty, Pretty Princess" more than once, and both kids know how to kick a ball thanks to his diligence.

At the end of the day, however, the thing about Dennis is that, good or bad, he remains my safest place in this world. It is true: as long as he is there, with us, we are okay. We'll find a way. We'll get through. It has been a long - and sometimes hard - seven years of living and marriage and parenthood...but I wouldn't trade it. If you asked Dennis or I about our life, we would tell you it is "perfect." Truly, we wouldn't change a day.

And the best day? The day I decided to spend forever with him.

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