As I type this my little brood sits in my lap, scratching my arm and watching the room grow brighter. Downstairs, Elizabeth tries to sleep. I say tries because she most likely can’t. She heads back to work soon.1
I see this look of despair cross her face every once in a while when she realizes that her morning cuddles, her morning laughs and giggles will be relegated to very early in the morning or after work or on the weekends. She isn’t looking forward to this. Her past year has been a magic one.2
As a husband I watched her grow physically and mentally to the point of birth. I was there for the birth of our sun. Along side her mother, pulling her leg and yelling for her to push. Then, everything went slow mo, a little head, a scream and the end of our worlds as we knew it.3
For the better of course. She had been a feeding and burping and loving and cuddling and nursing machine. 4 A machine that loves her little feed monster. Our boy is a healthy and smart giggle puss, all because of her. Her attentiveness and care. Her everything.
It is not so much that she doesn’t want to go back to work, but more that she doesn’t want to leave him. This little thing born of her body. This vessle that she made. This awesome example of nature’s breadth of expression. She doesn’t want to leave him.
And here I am in a role reversal. The one to take over the daily duties. I will be the one trying to fill her unfillable shoes. Hoping to do it right. I’m embracing this.5
But there are moments, when I look over at her and I see her looking down. I know she knows it is all worth it. Everything is worth it.
Doesn’t make it easier to see her this way.
I love my wife and everything she has done for my son, and my life.6
1 Trent, brood refers to children, not child. Did we have more than one? Is there a ghost child in our home? Did you get confused and think the dogs are my offspring from previous relationships? You’re right, I couldn’t sleep.
2 I’ve only been home with Valdy for 16 weeks, and off work for 18. You’re right, it’s crushing me right now. There would never be a right time to return to work, even if I had the best job in the entire world. Loving Valdy is the best.
3 My pregnancy was an adventure, but you’re right, it did bring out sun into the world. Suddenly everything is brighter, lighter and clearer. I want to be better. I want us to be better. I want every moment to have infinite meaning and depth.
4 Ordinarily the stickler in me would say feeding and nursing are the same thing, but the last 3 months and 3 weeks has taught me they are not. Sometimes our son eats and sometimes he just nurses. Needing to be held tight and close, to be connected, to know we are there, to feel safe to be comforted, and to know we have his back.
5 Me too. I can’t even express how lucky our son is to have you as an influence. A strong and sensitive male influence. My son is going to know the poetry of the world around him, because his dad showed him. I’m jealous, but completely aware of how fortunate I am that this is the world we have brought our son into. A home where gender rules are blown to pieces, where mom fixes cars and works on the house, and dad can cry, without caution, at sunsets and hugs. Please don’t burn the house down.
6 Including the parts where I try to explain that you use to much dish detergent? Or how to identify a dirty toilet? Or the joys of matching sheet sets? Or how to identify the clothes that shouldn’t go in the dryer? Or…. You still with me, and love me? Score! Love you too.