You know, I’ve been dreaming of Olivia’s first ballet class since I heard the words, “It’s a girl!” I dreamed of her in a little outfit and little ballet shoes….I couldn’t wait to see her spin and jump around and come home to show me the moves she learned in class. The thought of seeing her in a high bun and little tutu, laughing with the other girls. It’s something that made my heart sing. I loved the thought of all of that and I couldn’t wait for the day that it was finally a reality.
Had our girl loved sports or really anything else, I wouldn’t have even thought of a ballet class. I would’ve signed her up for whatever she’s interested in most, but she loves to dance, my girl is a little dancer. So, Last Thursday, we finally signed her up for a class. I was so excited for Olivia. All weekend Dominic and I went store to store, searching for the perfect outfit and the perfect tights and the perfect shoes…. Every time we made a new purchase, this excitement just came over me and I couldn’t hide it. I knew Olivia was going to love the class and I seriously was just so excited for her. She’s never done anything like this, and I knew she was going to be so happy.
Dominic didn’t exactly share my same sentiments. Don’t get me wrong, he was excited and loved buying her shoes and seeing her in her outfit, but I just felt like maybe he wasn’t as excited as I was. To be fair, I was probably a little more excited than I even should have been but I digress.
When Tuesday finally rolled around, every hour Olivia eagerly and excitedly asked us, “Is it time to go to the ballet yet?! Can we go now?!” And finally, at 3:30pm, it was time.
I’ve known my husband for a long time, I know what he likes, what he dislikes. In fact, I like to think I know him better than I know myself. I like to think I know him better than he knows himself. But yesterday, I saw a side of him I had never seen before.
When we got inside, Olivia seemed like she felt right at home. She ran right to the mirrors, played with the other girls, listened to the teacher… I was busy soaking it all in, not even paying attention to my husband when all of a sudden I kept hearing that little click of the phone camera. And it wasn’t coming from me. Mr. Doesn’t-take-a-lot-of-pictures was snapping pictures of our girl left and right, with a smile from ear to ear. My attention shifted from me watching Olivia, to watching Dominic. He was the only dad there amongst a group of overtired, overly excited moms, but that didn’t even phase him. Not one bit. There he was snapping pictures of Olivia stretching, of her against the mirrors, talking with the other little ballerinas in their little three year old language, twirling around the room. And then it dawned on me: He had secretly dreamed of her being a little ballerina just as long as I had. He was so proud of her.
And then the teacher kicked us out.
Did you feel that coming? I didn’t feel that was coming. I thought I’d have the whole class to watch her in her element. Instead, we got kicked out. All of the moms were lined up against the hallway, outside of the dance room, sitting down on their phones as if they knew all along that was what they were gonna have to do. But Dominic and I were seriously in disbelief. Why wouldn’t they let us watch? Didn’t they know what a big deal this was for us? How dare they.
Eventually, I gave up and joined the crowd of moms on their phones. I checked my email, caught up on social media, looked at the pictures I did take of Olivia… But Dominic. He was going nuts. Have you ever seen that meme of the dog that had ruined the entire house because he went crazy thinking his owner was never going to come back? That’s how my sweet husband looked. He tried to look through the windows, he tried to listen through the wall, he started pacing a bit…He just wanted to see what she was doing. He wanted to see how she was doing. He wanted to see his little ballerina in action. It was seriously the sweetest.
In that moment I realized something. I realized right then and there that I don’t give him nearly as much credit as I should. How could I think that I was the only one excited for her to become a ballerina? How could I think that I was the only one that was excited for her to do something new? That I was the only one excited for her to mingle with other little girls her age?
My husband works. A lot. Like a lot a lot. Not because he necessarily wants to, but more so because, I don’t know, he’s the provider for our family? No big deal. Except it is a huge deal. He works so hard so that I don’t have to, so that I can stay here and take care of our baby and yet I still find myself bitching at him because he doesn’t spend enough time with us. Some days, he doesn’t. Some days he leaves the house at 4pm and I don’t see him again until 2am. Some days when we’re having family time, he’s even working from his phone. But he’s not doing it because he doesn’t want to be with us, he’s doing it so that later on, he can be with us any time of the day he wants. He’s taking the blows now to set us up for the future. He’s doing it for us.
To clarify, this is isn’t some kind of revelation I just had. I appreciate my husband, I always have, and let him know about said appreciation multiple times a day, every day. But sometimes, I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes I can’t see past the 2am work nights. Sometimes I can’t see past that stuff, and it’s okay. I know that it’s okay. Because sometimes, it really is hard and it really does seem like it’s never going to end.
But you know what? My husband is the best. He’s the best husband for me and the best father for Olivia. I couldn’t dream up a better man if I tried, he’s got the whole package. Sometimes I really cannot believe that eight years later, we’re still together and stronger than ever. I honestly don’t even remember what life was like before him. He truly is the best man for me and our family. I may lose sight of that some days, especially the really long, trying ones, but I never completely forget that fact.
Some days, when he has the mornings off, he’ll play with Olivia. They build blocks, dance around, play princesses and dinosaurs and then we put her down for a nap and he says goodbye to her. By the time she wakes up, he’s usually gone and at work and without fail, every single day, in her sleepiest voice she says, “Good morning, Mama! Where’s Dada?!” Nine times out of ten, I have to tell her he’s at work. She gets over it pretty quickly but I think she always asks for him because of all the fun she remembers the two of them having before she went down for a nap.
When Olivia’s ballet class was finally done, she came out with the biggest smile you could ever imagine and ran right to him. I think the smile was partly excitement and partly, yay! He’s still here! She went on to tell us some of the things she learned in her class and while she was recapping, he was putting her jacket on and listening to her completely. He picked her up, walked her to the car and said, “Let’s go get some coffee!” and she quickly replied, “Yeah!!! Coffee!!!”
We drove to the coffee shop where he bought Olivia a cake pop and a chocolate milk (no one can spoil her the way he can ;). We drank our coffee, she inhaled her cake pop in about .5 seconds and then went to sit on Dominic’s lap while she drank her milk.
While they were all nice and cozy, I just sat there and watched them. I kept telling myself I am so lucky. There may be some weeks where he’s gone more than he’s home and we miss him so much when he’s not around, but he always makes up for it in the sweetest ways. I feel it, Olivia definitely feels it, and we both appreciate it more than he’ll ever know. I also found myself thinking, again, about just how perfect he is for Olivia and me. He knows exactly how I like my coffee, he always brings Olivia little surprises, he knows exactly how to handle each and every mood of mine, and he knows how to talk Olivia down from a temper tantrum. He knows just how to love us, what to say to us, how to work us, and he never ever complains about us…..even when I know we’re acting crazy (together and/or individually).
And you wanna know something else?
He took off every single Tuesday for the next six weeks to be able to attend every ballet class.
Seriously so, so lucky.