"You are a wonderful father. You are the reason that I am leaning in. I can’t imagine doing it without you."
No one can lean in alone. I am flourishing in my career largely due to the support of another individual -- my husband and life partner. It is because of his support that I am able to lean in to my career in the way that I am.
And so, I am writing my Lean In story about him and for him. (He has no idea this is coming). I want to thank and honor him. This is not meant in any way as a boast, though when you read what follows, you may want inquire about cloning him. I am incredibly lucky.
To my supportive, wise and devilishly handsome husband,
I love you because:
You agreed to become a father again after finishing your first “tour of duty” and sending your older boys off to college. You did this out of love for me, and now we both have an amazing new love in our lives.
You applauded me when I decided to throw my hat in the ring for this recent chapter of my career, and you stepped in to cover the gap that my choice created in our son’s life. You hung a hand-made sign over the door when I came home from getting the job offer that read “Congratulations Madame President.” You looked as proud as I felt.
You pack our son’s lunch every morning before preschool, and – at his urging - have impressively broadened your repertoire beyond soy butter and jelly sandwiches.
In addition to the everyday drop-off and pick-up duties, you were the first responder on the scene when the preschool called to say that our son had stuffed a seed up his nose and they couldn’t get it out. You walked out of an important lunch meeting, coolly announcing the reason, in order to go to him. (You were there within 10 minutes, and you got the seed out.) You sent me the calm play-by-play over text while I was across the bay in a meeting. This is serious hero stuff.
You take videos and pictures of soccer practice, martial arts practice, and science camp so that we can all watch them together as a family when I come home from work. You make me feel a part of his day, and connected to the family hours I’m missing while at the office.
Upon arriving home, I am often greeted by the aroma of dinners that you have prepared for us. I love seeing you in those first few seconds when I come through the door – you’re standing in front of the stove, an apron over your work clothes, a cocktail in your hand and a warm smile on your face. Very sexy. Your cooking is wonderful, and so is the food you prepare. Family dinner is a sacred ritual, thanks to you.
Recently, when I was up late refining a speech for the next day, you waited up with me so that I could rehearse it in front of you. And then, even though it was after midnight and we were both tired, you let me do it again. You made my speech better with your suggestions and insights.
Later, when I was losing my voice before that same speech, you ran out to the pharmacy to get cold medicine and Throat Coat tea. You do these little, caring acts all the time. And not just for your family…many people are lucky to count you among their friends. You are one of the most thoughtful people I know.
You believe in me, and my ability to achieve great things in my career. I rely upon this belief, especially when my confidence is shaken. I find it quickly again, with your counsel. You help me to act fearlessly, but also remind me to embrace my compassion.
10. You have set an example for me of how a seasoned, wise executive approaches the various challenges of leadership, management and life. When we first met I called you wise, and you joked that it made you feel old. You are anything but…I can barely keep up with you! I have learned by watching you. I have learned by listening to you. You have been a mentor and a sponsor in addition to an amazing partner.
You are a wonderful father. You are my best friend. You are the reason that I am leaning in. I can’t imagine doing it without you.