Don't marry a man unless you would be proud to have a son exactly like him.
Sometimes there will be these moments of bright clarity in the middle of play. I'll see Hank and Henry together, smiles and laughter, the sheer joy they bring to each others' lives so apparent, and it stops me dead in my tracks. Hank is a great man; he is kind, compassionate, loving, and truly sees the joy in every little thing. And because of all that and more, he is a wonderful father. Seeing the man I love as a parent has been one of the most beautiful things about becoming a mother, and it's the little moments like the one captured above, that I live for.
Growing up I dated a lot. I dated all sorts of guys; nice guys, overly nice guys, fun guys, some not-so-fun guys, and a handful of jerks too. When I was much younger, and before I figured out that I was worth being made a priority, I found myself trying to make something out of nothing a few too many times. But I wised up, I figured it out. I started to look at my parents' relationship, happily married for 30+ years, and I thought about who I wanted to end up with, what he would be like.
Before I met Hank I had sworn off serious relationships. I was 21 and enjoyed being "free"- I loved dating and preferred to do as I pleased, without taking into consideration anyone else as a major part of my life outside my family and friends. But my entire world shifted when I met my future husband, and suddenly here was someone that I could almost immediately see in my future, as scary as that seemed in the moment.
Those years went by so quickly- we fell in love, I relocated to his small town, we moved in together, we got engaged. And there is one thing I remember so distinctly from our engagement party, a specific moment that stands out above all of the laughter and stories and food we shared that night. A good friend of mine pulled me aside and told me that her mother once said to her, "Don't marry a man unless you would be proud to have a son exactly like him." She wanted to share this with me because she knew that any son of ours would be as wonderful as the best guy we all knew, and she was so happy and excited for our future together.
I think back to this day often, and that quote has stayed with me through the years. Every time I see Hank and Henry kicking a soccer ball, playing with blocks in the middle of the living room, or even reading a story together, I'm reminded. I see my little man trying to emulating my big man- trying on his shoes, the "dada dada dada," the way he lights up when Hank comes in the door after work. And sometimes, I'll see that little twinkle in Henry's eye when he's about to do something funny and I am reminded 100% of his sweet father. Henry is so young, but I can already see how kind he is, how warm and affectionate his heart is, and how silly and fun his spirit can be. It's amazing. I'm raising a boy who is going to be just like the man I married, and for this, I couldn't be happier.