ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As Mother's Day approached, Derek Wolfe made his annual preparations for his wife, Abigail. He helped make sure his 12-year-old stepdaughter, Tatum, was involved and ready with a card. He set up the appointment for brunch, as he does every year. And Sunday, he made her the kind of simple breakfast she likes, with eggs, bacon and orange slices.
But there will be no mimosas for Abbie this year. She's eight months pregnant, awaiting the birth of her second daughter, the first she and Derek have had together.
In the past few years, Derek Wolfe's understanding of his world has changed, particularly because of Abigail. So, too, has his understanding of Mother's Day.
"Mother's Day was always kind of … it just sucked, that day," Wolfe says, "because everybody was all excited about their mom and this and that."
Wolfe's childhood with his mother and stepfather was painful. He endured physical and emotion abuse from his stepfather, but when his mother and stepfather divorced, Wolfe still opted to stay with his stepfather because of his mother's problems with alcohol.
"I don't really have much to be excited about on that side," Wolfe says, "so it has changed for me."
Life with Abbie truly has changed him — for the better, of course.
"It's crazy, because your life changes once you get married," Wolfe says, "and once you realize, 'Oh, wait, hold on — I'm having a baby!' your motivation changes from all self-motivation to now it's you're providing for your family and trying to leave a legacy for your daughter and your future kids. It's invaluable to have a woman like her beside me."
He's also been able to learn a lot about being a parent from his wife, lessons that will prove important as a first-time parent to a newborn.
"Patience — that's like the main thing she tries to instill in me, because I'm a very impatient person," Wolfe says. "She just tries to get me to practice patience at all times. … Sometimes you have to give them grace. Kids are going to be kids and you can't be too critical. … You just have to try to guide them in the right direction. … But like I said, patience, just being patient with them. Not expecting anything but them to be happy."
And he can see the success of her methods as a mother already in how Tatum has grown up.
"That's hard to pick just one [characteristic that I most admire], because my stepdaughter is such a well-rounded young little girl," Wolfe says. "I think just [Abbie's] ability to discipline without having to be aggressive with her discipline. … Any parent that their kids just don't want to disappoint them, that's really what you want as a parent. You don't want them to fear you or be afraid you're going to get smacked or something like that — because that's the way I grew up, and to see the other side of it, [Tatum] just doesn't want to disappoint her mom."
With the baby on the way, Wolfe is excited to apply what he's learned. He also knows his career will make life tough for Abbie and him, as he'll likely only get about a week with them before training camp begins.
"The baby is supposed to come on the 10th of July, so really I'm only going to get a week of time," Wolfe says. "So it's going to be crucial to make sure I get to bond with her as much as I possibly can those seven days. And once training camp hits [it'll be tough] … but she expected that, she knew that that was coming, so she's prepared herself to know that the workload — all the hard work; I'm doing all the easy work — but all the hard work is going to be on her shoulders at that point. That's why picking a partner that knows that's kind of what comes along with this lifestyle is important."
Knowing all that has made him all the more appreciative of the responsibilities that Abbie has as a mother, and with this Mother's Day, he can show her the depth of that gratitude and love.
"Being the CEO of our household is not easy because I'm not a box of chocolates, that's for sure," Wolfe says. "It's just not easy to deal with this lifestyle. There's a lot of stuff that we're not capable of dealing with when we're at work. Then when you come home, she has to fill you in on all this stuff and decide which things are important to tell you, which things aren't important to tell you, and on top of being pregnant and raising an almost-teenage girl, as well.
"It's impressive, everything that she does. It really is. And she does it with a smile on her face and never really complains about it. She enjoys being a mother. It is fun to see and fun to see the opposite side of what I saw growing up, because my mom did not enjoy being a mother."
Mother's Day for Derek Wolfe now holds the joy he always wished it would.
"Now I get to be excited because not only do I get to plan it with my stepdaughter, but I get to set up a brunch somewhere," Wolfe says, "just take [Abbie] out and show her how much we appreciate everything she does every day."