• Kate Stapleton

To My Husband on Father's Day

Updated: Jun 18, 2018

To my love,

I write this as you sleep comfortably in bed. It's almost 9am on a Sunday and it is rainy and cold. I figured I would let you sleep in since you always give me the chance to rest when you are home. Our daughter is already outside jumping up and down in muddy puddles. The streets are empty and our neighbors are still asleep as she is making splashes as big as her heart that you help mold with kindness everyday.

Remember the time we found out that we were having a baby? It was in late March of 2015. It was a weekday. I had been feeling sick all week, so I went home from work to our little condo for lunch one day so I could lay down and maybe feel better. But before that, I went to CVS to buy a pregnancy test. You had been telling me all week that I was probably pregnant, but I didn't believe you. I thought it was just a stomach bug I needed to shake off. All this time though, it was in the back of my mind that I could be.

When I got home and took the pregnancy test, I was shaky. Nervous. What if I was pregnant? What are we going to do? Am I ready to be a parent? We're not married, what is my family going to think? I was anxious to see what that little stick would say - pregnant or not pregnant? Three long minutes came and went. I picked up the stick and sure enough... you were right. I ran to the kitchen to grab my phone to call you. *Ring ring* "Hello my love." You always have answered my phone calls that way. "Hey babe, guess what..." and before I could even tell you, you confidently said, "You're pregnant." My eyes welled up because the tone of your voice was very reassuring. You were excited and happy and hearing that on the other end was very comforting to me more than you probably knew at the time. It was then that I knew everything was going to be okay.

I drove back to work crying tears of joy. I was still nervous but now I was happy too. I was thankful that this baby would have you for a daddy. I was already imagining the life we would have as a family of three. When I got to work, I ran straight to where you were... the convenience of working for the same company. As soon as you saw me, you had a big smile and your arms were wide open to welcome me. I ran into your arms as I cried on your shoulders. We looked at each other and laughed. We both knew life from this moment on things will never be the same.

The months to come after was a roller coaster ride for me. I was hungry, nauseous, emotional, and tired. And you did your best to comfort me through it all. You surprised me with a foot spa massager at the end of my first trimester. The surprises didn't end there though because every night after work from my second to third trimester, you would make our uncomfortable couch into a cloud and massage my feet with lavender sugar scrub in warm water. Every night I fell asleep on the couch like a dead fish and wake up the next day feeling like a queen. When I reached the third trimester, I started to strain my lower back and complained how uncomfortable it was to sleep now. It was then that you rearranged our massaging regimen. You laid down a comforter on the floor, took the couch cushions and laid them on each side, and put pillows in between them. You left space in the middle for my growing belly, so I could lay face down when you massaged my back in addition to my swollen feet. Again, I fell asleep like a dead fish and wake up the next morning looking like a dead fish but feeling like a queen.

Even though you weren't getting massages from me, you enjoyed my pregnancy as much as I did. You would rub my belly and sing to our baby and talk to him or her. We didn't find out that she was a girl until birth but you knew the whole time that she was our baby girl. "Hey baby, it's your daddy... what are you doing in there?" Every night, you told her that you love her.

On November 3, 2015, I went to Walmart on my lunch to walk around the produce section, then candy section and then the crafts section. I was craving apples. I ate a lot of fruit during my pregnancy but I also had a craving for Hershey's Hugs and I also wanted to see what kind of cute things I could make before baby arrived. He or she was due in 16 days. That day, I told you I had a weird stomach ache. It was something I never had felt before but it was so subtle that I chalked it up to gas. You told me they were contractions, but being as stubborn as I am, I didn't believe you. Little did I know, only a few hours later that I would go into labor. The morning of November 4th at 3:30am, I shifted on one side and heard a distinctive "pop" which was followed by a stream of liquid. It woke me up and I frantically woke you up too! I ran to the bathroom and sat on the toilet and asked, "what are we going to do now?" You grab your phone and we look up if we needed to go to the hospital right away and in 15 minutes we were out the door. This baby is coming! Good thing we already had our hospital bag packed in the car for 2 weeks!

My labor was not bad, only eight hours of excruciating pain. No big deal. But just like always, you were by my side. Hungry and tired. But, just like always - you never left. Our hands were almost glued together, sweaty, and numb. But you worked through my contractions with me, reminding me to "breathe in" and "breathe out". I was so tired and in so much pain that right before I reached 6cm, I welcomed the epidural with open arms. After that, it was heaven. Even though I didn't feel it anymore, my contractions were consistent and I was dilating progressively. And on the 8th hour, baby was ready to come out. But she was stuck. Too high they said. They rearranged my legs and turn me - this way - that way - turn here - turn there. I had no control over my legs. I felt like a dead fish, but not like the kind you made me feel with your massages. An hour of pushing was all it took for our baby to come out. I was so tired I felt like I was going to pass out. But as soon as I heard that first sweet cry, it was like I woke up and I wanted to see our baby. I yelled amongst the chaos, "Is it a boy or a girl?!" I watched your face light up. I watched you cry. No one could hear me, I was so anxious I tried sitting up. It was then that everybody in the room was saying "It's a girl! It's a girl!" They took her off to the side, she was crying, and gently you said "Hi baby, it's your daddy." She shifted her head to the sound of your voice and just like that, she was calm. She recognized your voice from when you sang to her daily. Our daughter knew the day she was born that you are there. Just like you were there for me as I grew my belly. They cleaned her up and placed her on my chest. We cried together. This time as a family.

Our Ella Marie.

Her middle name Marie after your grandmother you so loved and loved you.

Your Fatherhood didn't start that day. It started earlier than that. It was the day with that phone call we had when I took that pregnancy test. You took care of me and our baby as she grew inside of me. And even though we weren't married, you took on the role of husband and father gracefully and with so much love. You stepped it up at work more so, working so many hours overtime, so we could save for our family. You were on-call so much that you hardly had any sleep, but still took care of me at the end of the day.

So much has happened since our Ella was born. I quit my job. You knew that I was going to be a stay-at-home mom before I even knew. We toured 3 or 4 daycares and as we drove from one to the next you knew I felt uneasy and guilty leaving our sweet baby alone for 8-9 hours a day. You held my hand and were very supportive. We moved twice. Out of the little condo we called home and into a smaller condo for 3 months. A downstairs unit. We saved enough money from all your overtime and also used our 401k that we were able to purchase a home for our baby to grow in. And in 6 month's time, when Ella was crawling, doing sign language, feeding herself with a spoon, that our home was finally done being built. Finally, we got married.

It was September 2nd, an intimate wedding of just me, you, our one-year old daughter, my mom and my sister. I was in a white dress and you were in a suit. Our daughter dressed in a lace peach blush dress, our little flower girl. It was a very special day.

Now, she is two. And today is Father's Day. So much has changed in these last few years, but one thing. You. You have been a constant in my life. Your love. And not only do you share it so willingly and selflessly to me, you also let our daughter know that she is loved by you too. You've been working much more than you did before. But your stress and tiredness almost instantly goes away when you see her. You sit together as she paints your fingernails purple and on days when you don't feel like doing anything while you rest your tired legs and feet you still get up from the comfort of the couch as soon as she asks you to play with her. You sit on the floor with her and do things like build Lego robots and castles.

When I sit back and watch you with her, my heart is warm. When I think back to the day I found out I was pregnant, when you told me that everything is going to be okay, I am amazed at how much we've built as a family in such a short time. I am amazed at all the hard work you've put in to give us a comfortable life. I look around our home that we call ours, and I look at you, and I look at our daughter. Everything is perfect. All because of you.

Thank you for being the rock of our family. A reminder that life is what you make it. I have always thanked God that He gave you to me to be my best friend who celebrates with me, cries with me, and makes my life a living heaven. Things are not always perfect and easy, but with you by my side to tell me that everything will be okay makes the ride that much more enjoyable. Ella and I are very blessed to be part of you. Thank you for everything you do.

Happy Father's Day, my love.

Kate Stapleton is a wedding photographer who values telling your story in a way that feels like you.

She creates images that are sincere, meaningful, and real.

Kate is based in Reno, Nevada and photographs weddings in the Reno-Tahoe area as well as destination weddings.

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