He is up early, taking the dogs for their morning walk. He leaves the bedroom quietly, allowing me to get the rest our baby needs to grow.
Oftentimes, he gets half a day's work in before he comes back upstairs.
Each day, he awakens me with a kiss, and the words, "I'll get your coffee ready, Sweetheart."
Sometimes, if needed, he'll toss my robe or a T-shirt to within grabbing distance. He goes downstairs and indeed, readies my coffee...with chocolate mixed in, and plenty of cream. Real cream.
I shuffle slowly down the stairs, and always into the bathroom first. I splash water onto my face to wake me up a bit more, so that I can present a happy smile to My Darling as we begin our day together.
Lately, we've been sitting in the sun room, where we've brought the patio table. (With all the rain we've been blessed by, there are now swarms of mosquitoes that are clearly in competition with those from tropical regions residing in our wildflower beds.) Before the sun room was available, we sat at the kitchen table or on the couch. In the winter, he lays a fire in the fireplace.
We share the newspaper in relative silence, once in a while sharing an article, asking for a crossword clue, or just remarking on the squirrels and birds which entertain us of late.
Sometimes, a small voice calls softly down the stairs or through the window into the living room, "I'm awake!" (He's generally a cheerful Monkey in the morning, thanks be to God.) He pads quietly out to where we two commune and climbs into a warm lap--mine if I'm in my robe or have grabbed a blanket, and then he wants to "nuggle in."
On Sundays, he makes pancakes and sausage for breakfast, and we eat together as a family before departing for Mass.
Before he leaves for work, My Darling prays with me. The Morning Offering, a Prayer Before the Day's Work, and a general morning prayer. The Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. If he's there, the Monkey prays with us. He mutters along with the prayers he knows (though if asked, he'll say them alone--and even get most of the words right!), and makes the beginnings of the Sign of the Cross on his little chest.
He tells our children to behave for Mom, and tells the Pickle to protect his mama and sisters.
He is rarely unavailable during the day. He takes moments here and there to connect with me, or to speak with one of the kids--just to talk for a minute or to instruct...sometimes to reprimand or discipline.
When he comes home, he comes in with a smile and a kiss. The children crowd around, awaiting their turn to greet their Daddy. "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy's home!" is the excited cry of the Monkey. He jumps on his little feeties, running into his Daddy's arms from whatever held his attention in the moments before the door closed.
We prepare supper, often together, sometimes taking turns. We always eat at the table as a family, praying the Angelus as a family, with Daddy leading his children and wife. We go around the table and give each family member a chance to talk about their favorite (and sometimes least-favorite) part of the day.
He works before and after supper, doing what he can to make progress on our home. Sometimes it's roofing, insulating, wiring, refining--whatever needs to happen to move us closer to completion, and whatever he has materials to accomplish, that's what he works on each day. He often brings new materials home with him, having stopped at the home improvement store on his way home from work.
When he comes in for the evening, we say goodnight to and pray with our children. Tucking in is shared. We come downstairs and often engage in cribbage or Scrabble, sometimes with a ball game on in the background. We talk about the day, the morrow, the weekend, family business, how things are in his work. We pray together, often speaking of how we were blessed that day, and wondering about how the children are growing and changing, and what this new life will bring to our family.
I joke regularly that My Darling is one of those who needs to take a nap before we go to bed. He can usually be found sitting on the couch staring at the backs of his eyelids...until I jiggle him awake to go to bed.
Sometimes we talk just after we've gone to bed, but usually he's just asleep....and I let him sleep and get the rest he needs to refresh himself, in order that he may continue to provide so ably for our family.
He is an inspiration, he is a rock, he is my protector and provider. He is the love of my life, my soul mate, the lover of my soul and body. He is a kind, loving and available Daddy for our children. He is our spiritual leader, he is justly firm with his children, he is a fair minded disciplinarian. He is a hard worker with nary a complaint. He is a prayer warrior. He is attentive to our Lord, making time for adoration, Mass, frequent confession, and good fellowship with other strong Catholic Christian men. He carefully minds the needs for his own spiritual development.
He is the blessing that I could never deserve. And I am daily inspired to be a better wife, a better mother, a better woman, that I may better serve and love him.