Shevonne Hunt is the host of Kinderling Conversation.
We’ve always been a bit ho hum about Valentine’s Day. Something about it being a 'Hallmark Holiday'. Over the years I’ve decided to emulate my parents who always give each other a card on the 14th February. No big presents, no expensive dinners, just a card with a few words to say “I love you”.
Every year I get you a card. Most years you forget and in a fit of guilt send me some flowers even though you don’t “believe” in flowers.
So on this Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write you a letter, because in the rough and tumble of family life you might feel like you’ve moved a few places down on my love list.
You haven’t, though it’s fair to say that love looks quite different for us these days.
1. Our bodies have changed, but the feelings are still there
When we first met I had a penchant for crop tops that displayed my amazing abs. You were still smoking then and it kept your tummy slim. Our bodies may have changed, but I still love the feeling of your strong arms around me. It feels like home. And while I am adamant that you will sleep in another room until you stop snoring, the truth is that those soft rumbles are my soundtrack to a safe night’s sleep.
2. Good conversations take time, but they still happen
Parents are very good at ongoing conversations that never have a conclusion. Every thought or sentence that we try to communicate to each other is usually broken by a small child demanding we build a helicopter this instant, or listen to their story about what happened at the park.
I love that we both respect our children’s need to be heard. But I love even more that when we finally get time to have a proper chat, it is clear that you are still the person who understands me the best.
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3. Your Dad jokes are appalling, but you still make me laugh
Sometimes I think the only reason you had children was so you would have a captive audience for your bad jokes. And while there are only so many poo and fart jokes anyone can handle, your ability to see the bright side of life remains one of your qualities that I love the best.
4. When you sing with the kids, you are my Eddie Vedder
Every night you play your guitar while the kids have their bath. One night I was in the bedroom and I heard you singing Wish It Was True by White Buffalo. At the chorus both kids started singing. You were all in tune and Darcy was singing at the top of her lungs.
I was surprised how good you all sounded and it darn near broke my heart.
5. We’ve been through some hard times, but we’re still here
There were times when we would compete over who had less sleep. Times when we would bicker over the right time to take the baby for a walk. We survived those sleep deprived years to become true co-parents, where we each care for and love our children equally.
There have been moments that felt hard and cold and I would catastrophise that we would be among the statistics of couples who didn’t make it. We managed to move through spaces in time when it felt like we would never move forward again.
I don’t know what got us through, but maybe it’s because as our love has changed, we have accepted that change and gone with it.
We know that it’s no longer about lust or time spent lost in each other’s eyes. It’s about laughter and respect, and accepting that we live in the real world, not a fairy tale where the happy end takes care of itself.
On this Valentine’s Day I’d like you to know that you are still my number one, even if tonight is spent juggling our children’s needs through dinner, bath and bed. Even if we don’t get to finish a sentence, and even if we fall asleep exhausted in separate beds.
Even if you forget the card.
I love you for who you are and what we have together.
Happy Valentine's Day husband.
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