I could talk about various ways he has been there for me this year, especially when I was put on bed rest and then my week in the hospital. He stepped up like never before. I could talk about how we bonded and pulled strength from each other as we worked through our emotions of learning Kaleb's Down syndrome diagnosis. How once he accepted it, he accepted it and was the strong one when I felt I couldn't be. How he selflessly stayed in Bartlesville to take care of Kaden which meant giving up trips going to the NICU to see K2. Often going several days without seeing him because he knew how important it was for me to be there.
Now with Kaleb home he is my partner as we travel to and from the various doctors appointments. He is my partner as we work to care for and parent two little boys. He gets up with me in the middle of the night to prepare Kaleb's feed while I pump and then wash my pump parts while I feed Kaleb. He is there every step of the way, or every step of the parade that is our nightly walk from the living room to K2's room. The parade that consist of me carrying Kaleb while TJ directs the cart holding Kaleb's medical equipment that Kaden thinks he has to push. He oversees turning the monitors and oxygen back on while I let Kaden hold Kaleb as I read them a bedtime story. It is a big understatement to say I don't know how I would do this without him.
Just this past week on Christmas Eve I had my first experience with the two of them by myself. On Christmas Eve we took the boys to the duck pond so Kaden could feed the ducks and Kaleb could nap covered in the car seat and stroller. I then survived getting both boys back home while TJ went grocery shopping at Walmart. After getting the three of us and all of Kaleb's equipment inside it was time to feed Kaleb. Of course while feeding Kaleb through his mic-key button Kaden decided he had to poop. So there I am in the floor holding Kaleb's feeding tube with a three year old doing his poop dance saying "help Momma." I quickly looked for a method of holding Kaleb's feed in place and sprinted to the bathroom to place Kaden's Thomas potty seat on and help him up. As I'm coming back in the living room my phone charging in the kitchen rings with a grocery question from TJ. No sooner had I sit down to resume Kaleb's feed than the door bell rang. Again I placed the feeding syringe in my makeshift holder (not going to tell you what is was so I don't give fuel for my NICU friends to laugh) and go answer the door. All the while talking to my neighbor at the door I pray that she cannot hear my three year old clapping and saying, "I pooped, I pooped a big poop." Or even worse, "Momma come see," (yes we are in that stage). Needless to say I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw him walk in the door.
I have been with this man for ten years, married eight of those years, and I have loved him all of those years. Now though seeing how he is with our boys whether it's reading them a story, playing with them, giving cuddles, or doing one of the many unglamorous jobs that need done it has added another depth of love.
TJ, you said the other day that you were looking forward to 2016 to see the growth and changes in our boys. I, too can't wait, especially with you at my side ready to take on each adventure that comes our way.