A Letter Of Appreciation to My Partner in Motherhood

05/08/2015 01:59 pm ET | Updated May 08, 2016
Dana Rudolph

To Helen:

I know it is hard for you when people assume our son is mine alone. He's my spitting image -- but you were the one who bore him inside you for nine months. Do you remember how we used to joke about me being the chicken who laid the egg, and you the cow who gave the milk? I still can't believe we went for the complicated idea of using my egg and your womb, with a little outside assistance and a whole lot of injections. What a team we made -- and what a child we created.

Since becoming parents, we've lived in three different states, gotten married, and watched our son develop into a wonderful young man. You were the one to first stay home with him, but you were willing to send out resumes along with me when changes at my job made me want to leave. We made our first big life-changing decision post-parenthood by opting for the more stable company that offered you a job, rather than the startup that wanted me. You went back to work and I became the stay-at-home parent. It wasn't what we initially planned, but I look back and know that we were blessed to have had both the opportunity and the flexibility to make that choice.

I know it has been hard for you, missing so much time with him while you are at work or traveling on business. I love that when you are with him, however, you are fully present, engaged and making the most of that time. I know this sometimes translates into you being the "fun" mom who plays video games with him, while I'm the mom who makes sure he does his homework and chores, but I also know you believe in homework and chores just as I believe in the value of geeky fun. Ultimately we support each other and it all balances out.

I treasure that we've developed family traditions that feel right for us -- making cinnamon buns for Christmas morning and latkes for the first night of Hanukkah, spending Memorial Day weekends camping and eating s'mores. I'm constantly amused at what a trio of geeks we are, with more computers than humans in the house, and I have tremendous fun during our Saturday mornings in the living room with our computers. You and he play Minecraft while I write or read blogs, but we're all doing something we love, and sharing with each other as we do it. Then I'll make muffins or you'll make omelets and we'll plan the rest of the weekend -- a local hike, an afternoon of board games, or any of the other things you and I have done together for over 22 years, and are now doing with our son.

I love watching your eyes light up when you explain a bit of engineering to him, or light up even more when he explains one to you. I love that you roll your eyes appropriately when he makes a bad pun -- something that definitely comes from my side of the family.

I know I was the holdout about having kids, a few years younger and with some career changes that meant for a long time I didn't feel settled enough for children. You'd accepted that, and assumed we would never be parents, but felt the relationship you and I had was valuable enough to stick together anyway. It was that acceptance more than anything that made me willing, in the end, to take the leap into parenthood with you, knowing that our relationship was strong enough to withstand the stresses that parenthood inevitably brings.

The past year has made me think especially hard about the value of family, as I lost my mother very suddenly to cancer after losing my father only three years before. You were there to comfort her, and me, and our son in her last days. I think I said "thank you" then, through my tears, but in case I wasn't clear: thank you again.

We've been parents now for more than half the time we've been together. I don't think either of us would have predicted where we're now living, the jobs we now have, or the utter joy of raising our son. This Mother's Day is bittersweet for me -- the first one without my own mother -- but I am forever thankful I have you as my partner in motherhood and life.

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