Hi everyone, this is Cliff, Sarah’s husband. Sneaking in a little Mother's Day blog before I leave for Haiti, where I'll be spending Mother's Day 2008. Those of you reading this blog have and/or are learning much about my wonderful wife. To celebrate Mother’s Day, I thought I'd contribute a small piece on Sarah and why I’m lucky to have her as the mother of my children and as my best friend for life.
First, and foremost, Sarah is a wonderful parent. I think most men will say that about their wives, but I emphasize this first because this is what made me fall in love with her, immediately! If you’re not familiar with the story, we had an epistolary romance (love letters, notes, etc.) and, aside from her beauty and obvious intelligence (brains are soooo s*xy!!), she made it very clear that Hatfield, our oldest, was the most important person in her life. Being a man intent on making family the top priority, I was immediately smitten. When I saw Sarah with Hatfield, giving her unconditional love and attention, there was no doubt in my mind, this was the woman meant to be the most integral part of my family.
Since that first date in Chicago, when I found myself completely overwhelmed by this woman’s beauty, the type that is so vibrant and alive from deep inside that it pours out of her and permeates everything and everyone nearby, I have fallen in love each day and in a more and more stronger way. For those of you interested in the statistics, our courtship was roughly six months. I was infatuated from day one, I wanted to marry her five minutes into our first date, and was brave enough to hint at it (and work into conversations how we would get married ‘if’ things worked out) by our second date, and was unabashedly committed to being her husband at the end of that second date (fast, yes, but when you know, you know!).
The marriage happened quickly, so fast that it took everyone I knew by surprise, and they thought I was crazy for leaving Seattle. If you knew her, though, the way I did, and saw everything you wanted in a wife, you don’t let anything prevent you from getting your future started. No time delays, no work delays, nothing was going to stop me from living the rest of our lives together.
Wow, I’m probably straying a bit here. I should be talking about her and why she is the best mother in the world. Instead, I talk about how I fell in love with her! Can you tell that I am still crazy about this wonderful woman and continue falling in love with her each day? Back to her as a mother!
Sarah is unselfish with our children, which is something important to me. This isn’t unselfish in the way of spending money on them (which she does do within reason). She is unselfish in that they are top priority. Every decision made takes the children into account. Work and life balance, how we educate the children, what we stock in the kitchen, how our free time is spent, and every major thing defining our family is primarily based on what it means for the kids. This is hard and, for me, a challenge. Sarah does this naturally, correcting my selfish whims and reminding me of what is important- not to her but to us. We made promises at the beginning of our relationship and, as a shortcoming, I sometimes want to do things for my benefit, not for the good of the family (example- big screen television) because it makes me happy. Although everyone has a right to get a little self-focus, its important to manage our finances properly. It takes discipline to give focus to the children, to buy music lessons rather than cable television, to spend money on educational books and sport equipment rather than books I want for myself or some really cool electronic stuff. And, most hardest of all, its hard to make the kids the focus of our lives rather than ourselves. Perfect example- this posting! I try to focus on Sarah as a mother and I lace every paragraph with my thoughts, stuff about me, etc.
Anyways, Sarah is consistent in this respect. She gave up working to become a stay-at-home parent. Working is hard, it is, but I’d rather work than be a stay at home for one fact- it’s hard, very very hard. I say this because, when we made the decision for single income, Sarah offered me to be the stay at home if I desired. Thinking about the challenge of babysitting, errr I mean parenting, our one child for a day, and considering the idea of tripling the kid count over time and repeating it 364 times each year is daunting, heck, it’s maddeningly impossible! So, I chose the easy way out and opted to work.
So, Sarah works at home, 7 days a week, no holidays or weekends off, with no raise, no awards, and no promotions in sight. She does this with unending grace, giving every ounce of love and patience and direction in shaping our kids and providing for them every day. She balances the budget, which was challenging on the income side for a long time, and makes miracles happen with strapped funds. She cooks healthy and delicious food for the kids, which takes a lot of time. She homeschools the kids, which adds to the difficulty in being a parent because it requires additional time (think late-into-the-night reading and planning and researching) in preparation and doesn’t allow for a tempting 6-hour break each by having the kids go to traditional school.
In short, Sarah has shown adamant commitment to being the rock of the family and being the best mother that she can be to our children. She helps me to become a better father by reminding me of my priorities, and as a wife she has been my best friend, advisor, and overall good influence on all matters professional and personal. I admire her for her choices, her actions, and for the amazing job she has done with our home, our children, and our lives.
Happy Mothers Day, Sarah. I am a lucky man to have a woman like you as my best friend and mother to the kids we dearly love.