On April 1st 2011 I returned to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave. It was a Friday and the office was very quiet. No fanfare, lots of hugs and about 800 emails to go through. That afternoon I got a photo sent to my phone of Trevor and Jack. It was Trevor's first day as a stay at home dad. The plan was that he would stay at home with Jack all summer before finding a permanent day care solution in the fall.
The best laid plans...
On April 2nd, a Saturday, a letter came in the mail from the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship organization notifying Trevor that he had been awarded a Fellowship to earn his Masters in Education in just 1 year while teaching in an "at-need" school. It is an extremely prestigious award, an honor, a blessing, and...oh...we had 2 weeks to accept the offer because classes started at the end of May.
I probably wasn't easy to live with those first couple of weeks after returning to work. On one hand I was ecstatic that my wonderful Trevor was being honored in such an incredible way. On the other hand, one of the ways in which I had mentally prepared for returning to work was in thinking that Trevor was staying home with our baby all summer. I tried my best to celebrate him and push aside the fear that our baby would be left in some stranger's hands all summer.
Well we found an incredible day care 2 minutes from our house and my younger sister, in an incredible act of selflessness and love, moved in with us to watch Jack 2 days per week forcing her to spend the rest of the week at her job with no days off. We all made it through our first trial as a family. It's hard to believe that was over a year go.
Tonight, Jack and I attended an awards ceremony for the 2011 Woodrow Wilson teaching fellows. On a beautiful outdoor patio, Jack and I got to watch Trevor accept an award from his professor and mentor Marcia. I watched as he was interviewed by the local paper talking about the past year- the ups and downs. He held Jack as he was being interviewed and halfway through, Jack started squirming and doing back flips in Trevor's arms. Trevor just kept on talking the entire time in a perfect display of how he's spent this past year- juggling his family commitments with work and school.
Trevor has worked a full time job all year in what is arguably the toughest profession for no pay. Every morning he gets up at 5:30, packs Jack's lunch, checks a few emails and is out the door by 7am. Now that he's directing a summer production, we eat by 5:30, he gives Jack a bath by 6:00 and is reading his bedtime stories by 6:20 so he can leave for rehearsal by 6:40. He's back to bed by 10:30 only to do it all again the next day.
But that all ends tomorrow because he has finally reached the end of the school year. And next week, a full year later, he will be a part time stay-at-home dad while he wraps up work on the 2 Masters Degrees he will earn this year. I write all of this because I don't know how much our friends and family know about what Trevor's given up this year. A social creature by nature, he's missed out on parties, bar hopping, movies and video games to study and work on his thesis, play with Jack, or spend an evening catching up on 20 hours worth of TV shows on our DVR with me. And as incredible as all of that is, I read something tonight that brought a tear to my eye.
Each fellow wrote about one of the highlights of participating in the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. This is what Trevor wrote:
What is important for everyone to remember is that even though these are called "at-need" or "at-risk" schools, every single one of these students is a unique, driven, and wonderful person in their own right. The moment we start treating these children like statistics, is the moment we lose our humanity.
I read that at dinner while speeches were being made and I'm glad I was wearing sunglasses, lest the Provost think I was crying at his speech. I looked at Trevor. He is the father of my son and he wrote that. I gave my children the best gift anyone can receive- a loving father.
I cannot wait to see what the future holds for our little family. Trevor, you are on the precipice of so many great things. I have watched you direct dozens of adoring children at the Civic, 2 of whom went on to be nominated for acting awards. Every Saturday for 6 weeks you got into the YMCA pool and taught Jack to swim. I see Jack's curiosity and voracious love of books and thank God for seeing to it that those little parts of you came straight through to our baby.
This summer you have the precious time with Jack you had to give up last year. My heart is happy thinking of the adventures you two will have together.
But for tonight, you deserved every accolade, every kudo, every handshake. You, my dear are going to make this world a better place and I am so honored to have a place by your side to watch it all unfold.
Happy Father's Day to the world's greatest dad.