Sweetest Day wasn't always like that for me. I can remember in the many long years that I was single I would mope around on days like Sweetest Day. I used to say they were celebrated just to remind all of the single people that they are single. I had romantic dreams of flowers, home made pasta, wine, and long talks by the fire. I was certain that's what all the happy couples were doing while I lamented my singlehood probably downing some ice cream or chocolate and hanging out with one of my friends. Tonight I'm happy with my Diet Coke, a little snooze on the couch while the kids watched a movie, and comfy pj's after an early bedtime.
After the usual bedtime shenanigans of an abrupt ending of bath time for throwing water, a variety of books read, wrestling kids to brush teeth and take medicines, at least 5 bedtime songs, and a protest of going to sleep without an iPad (Why did we do that ONE time?) I finally turned on the Keurig, walked upstairs to put on my own pj's, and began to sigh the relief of surviving one more day in toddlerville.
It was at that moment that I glanced at our video monitor for the boys' rooms and saw this.
What you are looking at is my husband, in my son's twin toddler loft bed, with Noah reading books. I honestly just sat and stared at it for a bit and watched their interactions with one another and thought "This is Sweetest Day." This is what Sweetest Day looks like. Just before this my husband was walking in and out of Noah's room with first a pillow, then a blanket, and then reemerged from upstairs with his pj's on. I asked if he was going to go to bed with Noah, to which he replied, "I'm going to do whatever Noah needs me to do."
Those of you who know us well, know that our son, Noah, after being born extremely premature, in the last year has been diagnosed with a speech delay, Sensory Processing Disorder, and most recently Epilepsy. He also in mid September began going to preschool two days a week. Our little guy has had a rough couple of months with the addition of different medications, learning to swallow a pill, learning how to sit in circle time, which to a kid with a Sensory Processing Disorder feels like a ginormous task to ask while his body screams from inside the need to move. He's learning how to verbalize what he wants and needs and what it means to be a friend. All of this change and upheaval has taken a child who has always struggled with a regular sleep pattern and supercharged things so that we have seen 3 am more times in the last few months than I can count. It means trips to doctors, changes in medications, calls to therapists, and struggles that we all face when lack of sleep effects our moods, behaviors, and ability to perform. There have been tears from frustration, anger, sadness, and even joy. There has been so much going on in our home as we navigate our new normal and work as hard as we can to make choices that allow Noah to be successful in all that he does. And I'll be honest, it's taken a toll on all of us. But as Tom, my husband said, "I'll do whatever Noah needs me to do."
So on this Sweetest Day, I remind my once single self, and anyone single out there, that this is what Sweetest Day is. Sweetest Day is watching your spouse sacrifice his time and sleep to crawl up in a bed and read your son stories and do whatever it takes to help his child to sleep peacefully. Sweetest Day to me will never be about dinners out, flowers delivered, or fancy chocolates anymore. Today I'm reminded that Sweetest Day is a celebration of the sacrificial love a dad gives to his son just because it's what he needs. Sweetest Day is a $1 pop drank with those you love the most even when you don't know how you'll survive until bedtime, let alone possibly have to even sleep with your child.
Happy Sweetest Day, honey. You are the sweetest thing that has ever happened to me and our boys!