This Father's Day, I'm Choosing to Remember

A Journey to Father's Day
Tonight I watched you on your hands and knees with a gaggle of giggling girls on your back.

The loud laughter and gasps for air bounced off the ceiling, echoed off the walls and seeped straight into my heart as I stood and watched your bedtime trip down the hallway from afar.

It's moments like tonight where I remember...

I remember walking into the infertility clinic, clenching your hand and watching the sun shine in through the windows while we heard the news that biological children were likely not in our future without extensive fertility testing, invasive treatments and uncomfortable procedures.

I can still see the devastation in your eyes.

I remember the mornings you'd ask if I took a pregnancy test. And a few minutes later you'd ask if I was sure it was negative.

I remember the morning of our final round of treatments where you didn't bother asking if everything was okay because you already knew the answer by looking at my face.

I remember the cold, winter afternoon we decided to pursue adoption. And how nervous we both were to tell our families.

I remember six months later, watching you frantically load up our SUV so we could catch the soonest flight to a hospital hundreds of miles from home and meet our daughter.

I remember feeling you wrap both of your arms around me in that hospital nursery, and with a lone tear rolling down your cheek you whispered in my ear, "I can't believe she's ours."

Eighteen months later, I remember frantically picking out a car seat in the middle of an Iowa snowstorm before driving across the state to meet our second daughter who had been born earlier that morning.

It was late when we arrived, and I nervously clenched your hand in the hospital hallway. I watched tears spill out of your eyes when they wheeled her into our room, swaddled tightly in that plastic bassinet.

She was beautiful.
A Dad's Journey to Father's Day
I remember hearing your voice crack as you held our new 8-pound miracle. You said, "Hi Kendra, I'm your Daddy." The next morning, I remember you holding me and crying with me as we said goodbye to her beautiful birth momma. Our joy of a second baby girl came at the expense of her heartache.

Months later, I remember making a list of pros and cons to move to a new city; and when the pros outweighed the cons, we packed a moving truck, our dog and two kids under the age of two and settled into a 3-story town home while we waited to sell the house we built our family in.
A Dad's Journey to Father's Day
I remember how stressful it all was, and how physically exhausted I was becoming; and I remember you encouraging me to find a doctor with our new insurance coverage to help figure out why I wasn't feeling well. I assured you it was because the move was so stressful.

But later that week, we found out the most unexpected surprise in the most unconventional of ways: I was pregnant.

I remember finding out our third miracle was a baby girl growing in my belly.

Months later, I remember yelling at you to hurry up because we had to get to the hospital and meet her. I remember being terrified and you holding my hand in the hospital bed telling me, "We're gonna get through this just like we've gotten through everything else."
A Dad's Journey to Father's Day
I remember the nights you'd spend tucking all three girls in for bed and then driving to the fixer-upper we bought for our family. Between refinishing the hardwood floors, tackling plumbing issues and surviving an asbestos scare (we can laugh about that now, right?), we had our work cut out for us. But your determination made it happen.

Then, a few months after we were settled I remember feeling hot in the supermarket and picking up a pregnancy test, and sneaking it inside so you wouldn't suspect anything and then freaking out when I saw not one but TWO pink lines. And then I remember telling you with my heart nearly beating out of my chest, "Oh my god. I'm pregnant."

And I remember finding out weeks later finding that our fourth miracle was a boy after you popped the blue confetti  all over our living room floor (thanks for vacuuming that up, by the way)
A Dad's Journey to Father's Day
I remember every twist and turn and unsuspecting bump in the road that has led us to these seemingly ordinary nighttime routines of bedtime books and pillow fights and horsey rides down the hallway.

This Father's Day, I'm choosing to remember it all -- the good, the bad and everything in between.

Most importantly, though, I'm choosing to remember how grateful I am that I get to watch you be a dad. It's a title that didn't come freely or easily, and you had to trudge through some mucky times to get there, but boy is it worth it.

Happy Father's Day.

Related content:
Infertility Changed Me
Life Is Full of Exciting Surprises
Love at First Sight: Powerful Photos of Meeting Our Daughter
To My Husband, The Social Worker

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