I am often told, “I don’t know how you do it.” I am asked, “How do you balance owning a business, working over 40 hours a week, raising two small children and keeping your husband happy?” I quickly respond, “It isn’t pretty.” But the truth is I am spoiled by the men in my life.
I grew up with a father who knew how to fix anything and everything. And I am not talking about a “do-it yourself” type of fix job. He would research every task on his to-do list and complete it with such precision and perfection you thought it was done by a professional. My dad taught me through his own example how to work hard, respect the dollar and don’t spend everything you make. I am so grateful he didn’t create an illusion that people with wealth “were lucky.” I knew that people with money worked darn hard for it and often more hours than the rest of us.
My dad worked hard enough to allow my mother the option of staying home with my brother and me. Although he often worked over 50 hours a week, he never missed my sporting events. He taught me importance of being present and accountable to those who depend on you. He often would say, “People say they are too busy for the things they really DON’T want to do.” He was never too busy for me and he still isn’t.
I can’t even count how many times my father has bailed me out. Just this past week he wired my home for a hot tub, helped me coach a t-ball game, counseled me on finances and loved on my children. It was because of my father’s admiration, example, unconditional love and compassion that I sought out someone just like him to marry. And boy did I hit the jackpot. My dad will often say, “You married someone better than me.”
Unfortunately, a real estate agent’s job is not Monday through Friday from 8-5. There are unforeseen appointments that arise, client’s schedules change, deadlines to meet etc. My husband has filled in when I couldn’t pull it all off. I am spoiled with a man who cooks, cleans, does laundry, fixes just about anything and kisses my kids when they fall. He schedules breaks for me so I can “re-group” and have energy for everyone that depends on me on a daily basis. He is patient with my OCD, perfectionism, indecisiveness and my control-freak personality. He has a perfect track record over the past 14 years, he is not going anywhere no matter what a pain in his butt I am.
This was never more apparent than when we were trying to start a family. As you are beginning to see, I have really had an amazing life. I grew up in a middle class home with two parents who adored me. When we began to plan for our own children, I had never experienced any real “loss.” I learned that if you tried hard enough at something, you will get it and nothing is impossible. And up until 9 years ago I had done just that. Then my little perfect bubble popped.
After months of trying to conceive there was no faint pink line on that pee stick. Doctor’s couldn’t explain why “it” wasn’t working. To some, this event may seem small. But to a woman who had always been able to accomplish what she wanted, and never experienced much pain, this was devastating. Having kids is supposed to be one of those “free” things in life, but that wasn’t our journey. Don was amazing as I battled depression, feeling like less of a woman and having no control over giving him something he wanted so badly. I never felt pressured. I felt loved and he continually spoke peace into my heart. He told me we would find a way. And we did. Thousands of dollars later and months of doctor visits we finally got our pink line. Our daughter was born 9 months later and she filled every hole that existed in our hearts. I have never seen my father more excited and more in love than when he met my Alyse.
A few years later we of course wanted another child. I thought for sure since my body now knew what to do the second pregnancy was going to be different. And it was. Not only did we get to spend thousands of dollars trying to get pregnant we also experienced a miscarriage that time around. Breaking the news to my father was devastating. It was the first time in many years I had witnessed him cry. This marked the first time dealing with loss in my adult life. My dad allowed me to grieve for an appropriate time and then gently reminded me that I had a baby on this Earth that needed me to be strong. He held me by the hand and showed me how to be a parent when life isn’t “perfect.”
A few years later, when my heart had mended, (again through fertility treatment) we conceived. We decided to not find out the sex of the baby and when the doctor announced, “It’s a boy!” I gasped with fear. How was I going to raise a son that could even remotely compete with the men in my life? Wouldn’t he get lost in their shadows? How was I going to teach him to be strong, to prepare him for his partner, for his daughter and for the harsh world around us? And then I held him. He is named after the men in my life and it is because of those men he will grow into a wonderful human being.
This Father’s Day I am in awe of the men that support me, love me and make me want to be a better mother, daughter, wife, friend and business owner. I am so grateful for them and I am not embarrassed to say that they are the reason I appear to be able to “do it all.”
So here’s to all you Dads, Papas, Fathers and Grandfathers out there; your role in your kids’ lives is insurmountable and from the bottom of my heart I thank you.