My wife and I have been married for 16 years. I’ve said this a lot during that time, and I’ll say it again: She is pretty freaking amazing. I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone so dedicated and thoughtful, and in love with her family. But living through a pandemic with Mel has really shown me, up close, exactly how hardcore she is as a mother and wife, and when I think about her contributions over the past 10 months, I cannot help but be completely, 100% impressed and grateful.
Here’s an accounting:
I’ve watched Mel sort through information about a life threatening virus, much of it contradictory, much of it changing by the week — but despite all that inconsistency, she always held to one simple and important goal: keeping her children safe, healthy, happy, and educated.
I’ve watched her sit at the kitchen table with a laptop in front of her, keeping up with her teaching job while one of our kids sits next to her with an open textbook, one eye on the computer, the other watching our child as they learn. Feeling stretched in two directions, but always doing the best to meet her obligations.
I’ve watched her adjust with each change from our children’s school, at first doing home packets, then online, then hybrid, and finally home packets again, each time taking it in stride and making the best of a complex and ever-changing situation.
I’ve watched her comfort our kids as they struggled to learn online and as they longed for friends and normalcy. Giving them support when they needed it most, lending an ear, and helping them sort through contradictory information.
And when things were bad for me, and I was hit with a dangerous spell of depression and anxiety in the shadow of a hard year, she was at my side, helping me find resources and supporting me when I needed it most.
And when things got bad for her, and she was stressed and uncertain and needed a good cry, I just sat and held her as she expressed her frustrations. Together we worked on a plan to better juggle the madness of pandemic living, and then I watched her get up the next day, her feeling determined — and I felt nothing but admiration.
When she was in the hospital for three weeks fighting for her life because of septic shock, and the kids couldn’t visit because of COVID-19, I watched her open up a laptop from her hospital bed and get on FaceTime to hassle our kids about their homework, making sure they were meeting their academic expectations.
I’ve been right there with her, knee deep in caring for our kids, both of us splitting the obligations equally, because this is a partnership. Together we have made sense of a very hard time, while also partnering in educating our kids from home, and supporting their emotional needs during a hard time. She has, without a doubt, not been doing all of this alone. I want to get that straight right now.
But I also want to say that this post isn’t about me. It’s one husband taking notice of his wife’s amazing contributions during a crazy time, because they are remarkable and worthy of gratitude. And 10 months into a pandemic, when the world still seems to be spinning in the wrong direction, one of the best things we can do as couples is sit down and give our spouse gratitude. Let them know that we appreciate their contributions, the way they have struggled to adapt to a difficult situation, and despite all the uncertainty, still demonstrated an incredible love for their family.
I’ve heard it said that challenges can bring out the best in people. Living through the craziness of 2020, and now 2021 (no, it obviously didn’t stop with the new year), I have been given an up-close look at how much my wife cares for our family, how determined she is to see them do well regardless of the obstacles. And all of that has translated into an even deeper love and admiration for who she is as a mother and as a spouse.
I have no doubt that the last 10 months have been chaotic for all of us. But if you have seen your spouse rise above, fight for what your family deserves, and continue to show up each and every day with love and compassion for the people they care the most about, then I suggest taking a moment and expressing your heartfelt thanks for their amazing contributions during a difficult time. If there is anything couples need right now, it’s more gratitude. The sacrifices have been great, and sadly, we are not out of the woods just yet.