he loves me with glasses of strawberry wine and cheese sticks arranged pretty on a plate.

he loves me by waking early and frying pancakes for the kids, with bacon and strawberries, and making eggs for me, with peppers and onions, even though the onions make him cry.

he loves me by getting upset when i don’t eat the eggs right away because who can eat anything right away with four kids ages four and under?

he loves me by putting the eggs on a smaller plate and putting that plate in the microwave and then watching me eat them and saying, “they’re too runny, aren’t they?”

they’re not honey. they’re perfect, i say.

he loves me by pulling me outside when the kids are tucked quiet, piggy-backing me across the lawn and pointing out the places where spring has come. the patches of grass, and “we need to do this every night,” he says. “walk outside and see how our world has changed.”

he loves me by dancing in his blue flannels and unloading the dishwasher and bathing the kids and rising in the night to sing aiden back to sleep.

and he loves me by telling me i’m worth it, i’m worth all of this, when we’re lying in bed too exhausted to move for all of the day gone before us.

and i’m not sure why i got this man, who did that break-dance move that won me over so long ago, but i’m not letting go.

not in a thousand moons or suns.

because he loves me.