Life Thankful

Husband Appreciation Post

I met my future husband at 15 through an after school work readiness program. We became good friends while working at a summer job and stayed in touch throughout high school, despite attending different schools. I wasn’t ready for a relationship so we didn’t get together until the summer before I left for college…across the country in California. That was a pretty eventful summer, but I’ll save that story for another time.

Daniel was my first boyfriend, my first relationship, my first 3hr (LA to NYC) long distance relationship, and my first 12hr (Hong Kong to NYC) LDR during a semester abroad. Thank goodness we had a solid foundation rooted in friendship, because I don’t know if we could’ve survived long distance otherwise. As a first time girlfriend, I put him through countless emotional rollercoasters. I had very much bought into the storybook and Hollywood ideals of romance, so I thought I was supposed to be treated like a Queen (not wrong there) and Daniel was supposed to fight for me/us and “prove” himself this way (quite ridiculous…but he did pass all the tests!). We’ve been through so many fights in so many places…if it wasn’t for the ground rules set very early in our relationship that Daniel doesn’t curse (which influenced me to curb my sailor mouth) and not to say anything we didn’t mean during fights, our relationship could’ve been considered toxic. However, we mostly fought about wanting to be together but not being able to (family obligations and the long distance thing), and we always found a way to make up and get stronger. With the short time we were actually able to spend physically together the first three years of our relationship, I guess fighting was kind of one way to express our passion and also get to know each other very efficiently. After all, nothing grows in comfort.

(Note for my girls if you are reading this- I am in no way advocating for always fighting with your partner as a sign of a healthy relationship. Your father and I had very specific circumstances and like I said, our fights were not nasty, there were no name calling. It was mostly me testing the limits of the Hollywood romance. I legit once got mad because your dad made a joke about not knowing my birthday. He spent so much time trying to make me feel better about that, poor guy.)

All is to say I know I was a crazy girlfriend and I appreciate my husband for never even suggesting we break up, even though I did because that’s what they do in the movies before they made up. But even though we put all that work into our relationship and made it through three years of long distance, there was really no way to know that we were going to end up together together. In your 20s, so many things change as you evolve individually, but I feel very lucky and blessed that we both changed together instead of drifting apart.

I don’t subscribe to opposites attract in the Hollywood sense anymore. In real life, I think what’s worked for me and Daniel is that we have opposite/complementary skills, but we very much started off sharing common interests (cuisines, humor, and in true Asian form, we both enjoyed advanced math) and we have grown together to share even more (tv shows, travel, Japanese culture, and so much more based on experiences together). He’s great at cooking, I enjoy doing the dishes. I excel at navigation and remember how to get to places, he definitely needs Google Maps or me. I manage big picture ideas and strategy for bobagreen, he executes.

So off we went getting married, and life as a twosome was great. But then came the next life event- having kids, and this is where Daniel has really surprised me with his awesomeness.

After everything that I put him through in our boyfriend-girlfriend years, I knew that Daniel’s patience is one of his strong suites. But seeing how he handles Olivia’s tantrums really shines a whole new light on how patient and understanding he can be. To Olivia’s credit, she doesn’t throw a lot of fits (I like to think it’s because we’ve taught her well, to express her feelings in words, and we model rational behavior as we are now grown adult parents who talk through disagreements), but she is a toddler and sometimes toddlers have big emotions. It’s ok. Sometimes Olivia would just whine and throw herself on the floor because something didn’t go the way she wanted it to, and Daniel would get down to her level, ask her what is bothering her, talk through it as many times as necessary with her, and figure out a solution to her problem. I get impressed because that’s exactly what I would do for our children too, but I didn’t have to tell him. Daniel just does it as if he’s reading my mind and I love how aligned we are on parenting styles. Sometimes Olivia’s tantrums would really push my buttons, so he is able to take over, and I do the same for him. Complementary skills.

When Olivia was still in my belly, I started reading about Montessori and how to raise a child using the Montessori way. The philosophy – letting children lead, respecting the child, encouraging their independence and curiosity – fit perfectly with how I’d envision my parenting style. I was really excited about it, so after reading some books I summed up the important parts for Daniel (I love to read, he really does not) and to my surprise, he didn’t need much convincing to get on board. He agreed that he liked the Montessori way as well as it also spoke to his natural parenting style. Whereas I need to read to get ideas and learn, I was amazed that Daniel knew how to use Montessori principles without much research. I can’t express how important it has become that we are both on the same page when it comes to child rearing. This wasn’t something I was able to plan for when we were just getting to know each other, but it’s another example of us growing together, sprinkled in with a bit of luck, and it makes parenting so much easier and more fun for me because we are truly doing it together.

In our household, I manage planning (finances, kids’ education, weekend activities), and Daniel takes care of physical needs (trash, cleaning, yard work, heavy lifting). We enjoy sharing with each other the things we have in common (movies, shows, restaurants, places to go, things to do). It’s a balanced life and relationship. I don’t question whether he’s doing more or if I’m doing more – I assume we are both trying our best and have the best intentions for our family, and being Daniel’s partner is just natural and easy to me. I am so grateful to call Daniel my husband and I am endlessly thankful for the life and family we’ve built and continue to work on every day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *