Back when I was heavily pregnant with Declan and sleeping on the couch each night because it was the only place I could get remotely comfortable, I had a really vivid dream that Joe was knocking on the front door. Then, in real life, while I was still half asleep I leapt off the couch and ran to the door to let him in. Except that he wasn't outside at all. He was sitting on a chair in the living room watching me in disbelief and amusement (mostly because I hadn't moved that fast in months) and asking what the heck I was doing. It was so surreal and crazy how vividly I thought he really was knocking on that door. Pregnancy hormones are weird.
So why am I telling you this now, months later?
Because Joe still makes fun of how I tried to "escape" and says I was all dejected when he prevented me trying to run away. Nowadays, when Ez or Declan (or most likely both of them) are particularly grumpy, he'll say something along the lines of "now I understand why you were trying to run out the door that morning." Or, "If I knew they were gonna act like this, I would've ran out the door with you." It never fails to crack me up. (And I swear, I really wasn't making a run for it!)
But again, why am I telling you all of this??
Because that's the kind of day Joe's birthday was. Times ten.
Tag team crying, a lot of divide-and-conquer parenting strategies, and a huge tantrum on the way to dinner that resulted in a mid-route turn around and takeout Indian food.
In Joe's words, it was the "best worst birthday ever." Worst, for obvious reasons. But still the best because we spent the day together as a family, and all days that we get to spend with these crazy two boys of ours are good days (even if some days are a little better than others).
Every time someone would start crying for the thousandth time I'd tell Joe "Happy Birthday!" and he'd respond with, "happy parenthood!" And he's right, these kinds of days won't be isolated days, there will be many (many, many) more of them throughout this journey of parenthood. I'm so glad that I've not only found the perfect person to share the burdens and responsibilities of parenthood with, but I've found someone that sees those burdens and responsibilities as the blessings they are. Someone who always has just enough patience leftover after a major tantrum or non-stop whining to throw a little humor into the mix and automatically make an annoying situation hilarious instead. And someone that always puts himself in the kids' shoes and sees the world through their eyes. So that when Ez decides to scream bloody murder because he wants to play in the water instead of go out to eat, Joe gets that he's not trying to ruin our evening, he just has his little two year old heart set on playing at his water table. That's not to say we don't get mad or annoyed. We're not saints, obviously. But we try really hard to roll with the punches and look for the good in the day, while laughing at the bad parts.
So even though we didn't have grand birthday plans to start with, we wound up downgrading to a day at home, cooling off in the backyard while waiting for our Indian food delivery to arrive, followed by the Bachelorette's Men Tell All. Joe deserves the world, and I wish we could've done something more elaborate for him, but I love that he was content as long as we spent the day together. Ez, Declan, and I are so lucky to have him.
Happy Birthday Joe! We love you and appreciate all you do for us.