I am very good at picking cards. For any occasion, for anyone I know reasonably well, I find a way to pick a card that people really like, and it usually doesn't take me all that long. It's an odd, useful in a very specific way kind of talent. But not tonight. I don't blame myself. I blame the cards. They sucked.
The cards were all filled with empty mom things. Things one might say to any mom. In fact, there was actually a category of card called, "Any Mother." How about that for horrible? Just any old mom. "They're all the same, for Christ's sake. Just take your pot of flowers we bought on a street corner four blocks from your house and enjoy."
Here's the thing. My wife is not that faceless "Any Mom." My wife is not, "the kind soft presence that smoothes my rough edges." She's not the "gentle, sweet woman who is always there," or who, "we know we don't always appreciate enough." She's not some one, "we don't always remember to tell I love you," or someone "we forget is there until it's time to eat."
(I might of made that last quote up.)
She's not even necessarily the "heart of our home." Not alone.
She's the soul and the brains.
My wife is a woman who works her ass off to keep us fed and warm and secure and even vacationing.
My wife is hard when I'm soft (which is not to imply she's not quite soft in some delightful ways), smart when I'm stupid, and organized when I'm chaotic.
My wife fights for her children and our home.
My wife balances me when I'm frustrated, relieves me when I've had enough, and gives me a boogeyman to scare the kids with.
My wife can make the kids understand when I can't.
My wife respects who I am, what I do, and what I provide for her and our children. She allows us to show our kids there are many ways to live, and many definitions to the words, "father"and "mother."
My wife makes excellent chicken soup.
My wife is a role model who displays virtues like passion, hard work, compassion, strength, and an ability to approach the world on her own terms.
My wife loves her children deeply, fiercely. Mama Bear.
My wife is my partner in parenting. We fight and love and soothe and punish together.
My wife is the only person I would ever pick to show my daughter what it means to be a woman, and my son what women really are. Humans. Adults. Parents. Just like Dads.
Happy Mother's Day, my love. Our kids are lucky as hell. And so am I.