9 years ago, in February, Will and I went on our first date. Well it was our first “official” date…we had gone to a rugby game together and I had made him terrible pesto pasta with carrots. Our first official date Will bought tickets to Chicago the Musical. He showed up at my door dressed in a suit with flowers in hand. I was so incredibly nervous (but not as nervous as Will). We arrived at the theater and I asked if Will knew anything about the show. He didn’t. I then explained that it was a musical about women who sang about killing their husbands/partners all whilst wearing lingerie. He was so embarrassed and tried to cover my eyes anytime there was a slightly salacious scene. It was one of the best dates he has ever taken me on…and has ignited our love for the theater.
That same night I shared with Will how I would one day grow my family through adoption. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve, and I felt so strongly about adoption that I did not want to waste my time with a man who did not share that same calling. Will had honestly never thought about adoption, but he knew he wanted to be a dad one day and that he was open to that.
We dated for the next 2 months…Will was the perfect gentleman. He opened doors for me, walked on the side of the pavement that was closest to the cars, and even asked my permission before he hugged me the first time. We spent all of our spare time together…talking and sharing and laughing and watching rugby and Lord of the Rings. I knew I was in love with him when we were in a department store and I was looking at baby clothes. I knew there and then that Will would be the father of my children. It hit me so hard and so fast. I could not imagine doing life with anyone else.
Most of you know that parenthood did not happen exactly like we planned. We tried for over a year to get pregnant and for whatever reason we never got pregnant. We knew adoption would be a part of our story, but we did not know it would be intertwined with the struggles of infertility. So when we were ready, we pursued adoption.
We got to a point after the first agency ended up being a scam and waste of a year, that we felt utterly hopeless. I felt the weight of providing a child for Will and the reality that it just was not happening. One night we spoke frankly with one another…about the life we had been blessed with…our jobs, our families, our home, our pups, and each other…and we made a promise to each other. If parenthood was not a part of our story, we would be ok. We would rejoice in the lives we had been given and we would be content.
I looked at Will with our nephews, how he longed to be a dad, and it broke my heart. I knew how badly I wanted to be a mom, but I could see how our waiting and struggles were affecting Will. He was the strong one…the one who picked me up every time we had a negative pregnancy test, or we weren’t chosen for a baby. He was and still is my rock, the strongest man I have ever known. But I could see how much he was hurting.
He would talk about waking up early on a Saturday to watch rugby with our child. How he would sign up to coach their little league teams, take them camping, and be their scout leader. He didn’t experience the physical loss and grief of infertility that I felt every single month. But he felt it nonetheless.
I knew I could eventually cope with not being a mother, but it killed me thinking that Will could be robbed of parenthood.
It’s Father’s Day tomorrow and I am so excited to celebrate Will. From the moment we matched to now, Will has showed up for Milo in more ways than I could have imagined. I always pictured Will with our future kid, but the reality is so much sweeter. He loves on that boy like no other Dad.
Our first night out of the hospital, Will stayed up the entire night holding Milo because his reflux was so bad and he couldn’t lay down flat without throwing up. He let me sleep for 6 hours so that I would be rested for the next day. He changes diapers without hesitation, he makes bottles and feeds Milo every night at 2am. He walks in the door from work and instantly wants to hold our son.
I thought I loved my husband so completely…but there is nothing more wonderful than seeing your husband care so incredibly deeply for your child. The love I have for Will has grown and changed because of his love for Milo. I am sitting here in tears because I know Milo is growing up with the best Dad. Will is going to show up for that kid always. He will be at sporting practices and games, at school events and plays, at doctor’s appointments and parent-teacher conferences. He is going to share his Dad-jokes, embarrass him, and teach Milo everything he loves about the world.
I am only the mother than I am because of Will. I know that God prepared us for one another…that we would need to lean on one another through the hardships. He also prepared sweet Milo to be our son. When I am doubting who I am as a mother, I can look to Will and be reminded of God’s provision and unending goodness.
Happy Father’s Day Will,
Love Milo and Ashley