A love letter
by Ashley Weeks Cart
You told me not to get you anything for Valentine’s Day, and besides the stash of red and pink-foiled Peanut Butter Cups awaiting you at the kitchen table this morning, I’m adhering to your request. And honestly, there is absolutely nothing that I could buy you that could possibly do justice to how I feel about you. Even your beloved PBCups are inadequate.
So I thought I’d tell you.
Because in the day to day ebbs and flows of our life, with alarm clocks, and work schedules, and ballet classes, and dinners, and meetings, and Admission files, and dishes, and chickens to be let out of the barn, and dogs to be exercised, and kids to be bathed and clothed and fed and napped and read to and played with, I don’t say these words nearly enough. And while a public love letter might actually be the opposite of what you, quiet, introverted, thoughtful James, might want, I want the world (or our world that shares in this space) to know what a wonder you really are.
You are the steady, reassuring constant in our family. I’m exploding with energy and feelings and so many crazy ideas, and you stand back and let me try to shine shine shine. It’s unfair that I should take any credit for this space, or what I’m putting out into the world, for it is your constant glow, that steady beacon of light that allows me to burn, extinguish and then reignite time and time again. There is no greater joy than when I elicit from you that pure, unfiltered chuckle of admiration and amusement you so often bestow when I am bubbling over with excitement. And there is no greater comfort than the warmth of your chest and unconditional, sincere words of encouragement and love when I am faltering and feeling snuffed. And there is no greater pride than witnessing firsthand the power and impact of a father’s love on his two growing, confident daughters. Our children are so very lucky to have you. Just as I am.
You are a true partner. Sharing so equally, if not more so, in the responsibilities and joys of parenting our children and creating a family. You retrieve Courtland from her bed every night when she cries to allow me extra sleep. You step in when you hear my voice reaching that pitch of anxiety and stress while wrangling the kids after a long day. You let the chickens out of the coop and back in every evening, tending to their water and food and thus permitting me extra time to tend to all the crazy projects I have in progress. I no longer have the grocery story layout memorized as there’s no need. That is your territory. And the dishes, that too is your territory, though I try to more equally shoulder that chore.
You may think that all these gestures are small and menial and go unnoticed. Please know, they do not. I am so acutely aware of all the ways, big and small, that you go out of your way to care for me. You are the most caring man I have ever met. And I have no idea what I did to be deserving of such thoughtful, kind affection and love. A day doesn’t go by when you don’t pause to tell me that you think I’m the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen, and typically it’s when I’m feeling my most unpolished and unattractive. And while I may roll my eyes and scoff, know that I feel like I’ve won the lottery, every time. And don’t think for a second that the attraction is one sided. I am caught off guard constantly by how absolutely, involuntarily attracted I am to you. You’ll be lazily sipping your morning coffee and I am slammed with the jitters and stomach-flips reminiscent of the first time I laid eyes on you.
And in those moments, I can’t believe that we were lucky enough for our worlds to collide and for us to be where we are now, on our little piece of land surrounded by our children, our beautiful, kind, sweet children that exude the goodness of their father wherever they go, together.
I cannot imagine navigating this world without you by my side. And it’s not because then I might actually have to wash the dishes or clean the chicken coop, it’s because life would be so uncertain, so unsteady, and so very dim without your unfaltering, radiating light.
I love you to the moon and back and back and back again,
P.S. God we were young when we met. Good thing we didn’t F it up, eh? And man, I miss that Chevron hat. Now THAT’s what I wish I could have bought you for Valentine’s Day.