Imagine being married to someone who publishes your personal life in a newspaper that goes county-wide every week. The Carpenter, my spouse, is a real trouper. So I ask that you allow me this forum to wish the Carpenter a happy Father’s Day.

Parenting is not for the weak of mind or stomach. What should be the happiest event in your life can also wreak havoc on your relationship, sex life and your budget. You don’t see it coming. Oh sure, people warn you that parenting is hard work that never ends, but you don’t listen. You think a mortgage and car payment makes you all grown up. You think that your relationship is rock solid and nothing will ever crack the foundation, especially when you marry a guy who builds foundations for a living. But life happens.

When you become parents, you look at your partner differently. Gradually, you even stop calling your spouse by their own name. My spouse is not my Daddy, yet I call him that often. I yell it even, like when one of the children throws up in the night and I cannot bear to clean it up. He is the boo-boo-cleaner-upper, household fixer and sports guru. I am the scheduler/organizer, referee and emotional supporter. Somewhere, without words or contracts, we have fallen into these roles.

Lately, the pressures of life have felt enormous, downright scary even. Like most people we’ve bought into the notion of needing to have it all, even though we already have it all, and somewhere we’ve got lost in the shuffle. Mommy and Daddy weren’t lost. Kelly and the Carpenter got lost. We sit across the dinner table every night and we sleep in the same bed, but space is expansive and invisible, even in a happy marriage. It seems we’ve stopped trying to reach across the divide because we are constantly intervened by little voices, sports schedules or deadlines. It happens. We jokingly write it off by saying, “it’s just life.” Well, that’s not okay. Life is too short to forget to truly see one another and love lasts too long to stop trying.

The Carpenter and I share the love of two incredible children. They each have his eyes and kind heart.  But he has given me so much more. His love has kept me grounded so that I can chase my dreams. His friendship is my safe place to fall (and I trip a lot). His humour encourages me to write in my own voice. And no matter how many baskets of laundry are unfolded or if dinner isn’t on the table, the Carpenter comes home every night. That’s crazy love.

This Father’s Day, I will refer to him as Daddy, because that is his special role in our family. He will be smooched with kisses and hand-made crafts, and he will love it. But what I will see is my best friend who got me through university, life-threatening illness, two drug-free child births and a lot of “I cannot do this anymore” chats. The Carpenter is still the guy I fell in love with almost twenty years ago, who listens to music I despise, leaves his laundry on the floor, works too much, and gets the kids hyper at bedtime. Yet he still gives me butterflies in my stomach with just a simple smile. I know I am lucky to have found Mr. Right (with a toolbelt, no less). I just have to remember to say it, to look up and see: to remember. Happy Daddy’s Day, to my Carpenter, my very best friend.