Love Letter

by Ashley Weeks Cart

I wrote these words for James for Valentine’s Day. I had intended to complete this letter that morning, but instead received that devastating phone call from my father. Re-reading it now, it doesn’t even begin to touch on my gratitude and love for this man. It captures my feelings about him in The Before, and while I don’t yet have the capacity or full perspective to write about our relationship in The After, I know that it runs far deeper than I ever could have imagined. 143, my love.

My James,

I’ve written you many a love note, on Valentine’s Day or otherwise, but it’s been awhile, given the chaos and inertia of daily life with young children. And as our world is about to get all the more disrupted with the introduction of a newborn, I figured now is as good a time as ever to remind you of just how very much I adore and love and respect you. As a partner, a father, a human.

Because lord knows when I’m in the depths of sleep deprivation and leaking bodily fluids out of one too many of my own bodily orifices while also managing the waste and outputs of another being and I haven’t showered in days and the laundry is crawling up the walls and the dishes have taken over our kitchen and OH MY GOD WHY WON’T THE KIDS STOP WHINING AND THE DOGS STOP BARKING AND WHY IS EVERYBODY SO DAMN NEEDY AND LOUD, I may have less than loving, tender words to exchange with you, my partner and culprit in this madness. We’ll be in survival mode, and while it will be filled with many beautiful times as a family, it will also have many of my less glamorous, more shameful moments. But underneath all that disorder and lack of personal hygiene, refer to this and remind yourself that I am in fact a loving and appreciative spouse.