I was so proud of Shaun as we went through the day last Sunday...the first of many Father's Days that will feel incomplete, like something...someone...is missing. I bought him a Father's Day card, and just couldn't bring myself to write in it. It hurt too much. But I'm so impressed, to say the least, at how Shaun has walked through the past 5 weeks with a balance of courage and vulnerability. And I'm even more impressed with how Shaun loved me and loved our son through the 9 short months that we got to know Zachary as I carried him. He is such a wonderful husband and an awesome daddy! So, here's my belated 'thanks' to him:
Shaun, thank you for being so excited when that pregnancy test (well, all 20+ of them) came back positive! Your joy made my selfish feelings of being too young and unprepared to be a parent dissipate in the days to follow. You were so thrilled to be a dad right from the start!
Thank you for caring for me through 5 months straight of being so sick...getting me water after I puked, doing the dishes and cooking for yourself when I couldn't walk into the kitchen, buying me special 'mommy' candies for my birthday to help settle my stomach. Thank you for reminding me daily through those months that the discomfort, sickness, and fatigue were all going to be worth it. You were right...it truly was worth it.
Thank you for being so fascinated with how big our baby boy was each month of my pregnancy...and giving me weekly updates comparing the size of his growing body to fruit...week 8 - blueberry, week 14 - lemon, week 20 - banana. :-) You certainly know a lot about pregnancy now!
Thank you for playing music to Zachary with your iPhone on my belly! :-)
Thank you for giving our son to God in prayer every night while I was pregnant. It means more than I can express to know that our son has a father who knows and trusts His heavenly Father. Your faith helps me to continually release Zachary to the Lord, moment by moment. You are an incredible source of strength for me.
And for the hours and hours you spent researching strollers and preparing Zachary's room for his arrival, I am so grateful. You were more than ready to be a parent.
And thank you for carting me around in that last month that I was pregnant and not working, letting me run work errands with you so that I didn't go completely stir-crazy at home. Those instances that you would reach over in the car to feel our little wild-child do karate moves in my belly are so, very precious to me now.
In the triage room the night we found out that we had lost our sweet baby, your unwavering hope as the nurses and midwives searched and searched for a heartbeat made me realize just how badly you wanted to be a dad to our son. And when it was finally confirmed that his heart really wasn't beating, the profound sadness that shook you made it clear to me just how much your heart had grown in those 9 months.
And when it was finally time to push our big boy out, you coached me through it all with such joyful anticipation. A stranger in that delivery room would never have known that the baby I was delivering wasn't alive. You were more than awesome, and I thank you so much for your strong love for your son and for me through those minutes...I don't know if I would have made it through them without you.
Thank you for letting Zachary into your heart completely in the hours after his birth. I can still hear you cry, "My son," over and over as you cradled him in your arms. You were such a proud dad! And as we sat together in that hospital room, just the three of us...examining his perfect body, holding his big hands, tracing the outline of his adorable face with our fingers...those memories are frozen in my mind and I will treasure them for the rest of my life.
Thank you for the hours you have spent missing Zachary with me...reminding me exactly what he looked like, just how sweet it was to hold him, and the peace that God poured on us on that day, even in the sadness. Thank you for the cherry blossom tree you planted in the backyard in Zachary's memory - what a perfect reminder of the new life that our son is experiencing in heaven...and the new life that God has in store for us, both here and in heaven with Zachary for all of eternity. Thank you for the gentle wisdom you have spoken to my heart time and again when I've felt like I couldn't take one more breath. Shaun, your love for Zachary is incredible...words seem extremely inadequate right now to express how in awe I was of you the day that he was born...and every day since.
Happy Father's Day to the man of my dreams and an extraordinary daddy. I love you.