Friday, May 27, 2011
his and hers
We know each other well: he buys me salted caramels and whole wheat fig bars when at the fancy grocery; I know that when he's grouchy at the kids it's really not the kids, but high time he and I go on a date. We need to reconvene. Remember.
He knows I like it when he scratches my back; I know he likes it when I get the car washed or mop the floor, or make sure dinner is fixed and includes a beefy protein. I feel like I know him better than I know myself-- and I know he feels the same when he diagnoses my crazy just by looking in my eyes or knows the things I should say yes to, the things I need to do for myself, the things I need to let go.
It's bizarre to me that we were kids when we met. I was a teenager. And then suddenly I was married. And then suddenly it's 14 years later and I've almost known Aaron longer than I haven't.
Two nights ago we were attempting to corral a temper tantrum that was threatening to errupt out of our fiery redhead, and Aaron was doing his best intimation of "dad"-- consoling but firm, offering alternatives, distractions, possible punishment/reward-- and I looked at him across the kitchen island and as he caught my eye, I burst out laughing.
He started laughing too. Then said to me, "What?" I shook my head, unable to answer, and he said, "I KNOW. How are we parents to all these children?!"
It's something no one ever really tells you about parenting: that it's a crap-shoot. That although we are trying our darnedest, we are pretty much winging it. That although we are older, we still feel like kids ourselves. We still question things and wonder over things and attempt to sort out how to be our best selves on a daily basis. We are still forming as humans and spirits and grown-ups and man and woman. We are still navigating our own tantrums-- the disappointments that try to dissuade our dogged determination to be positive role models-- and reconciling the things that are not what we thought they would be (and often more spectacular than we could have ever imagined). And we (me) are still trying to figure out how to get out of doing all this dang homework.
How are we responsible for the welfare and well-being of four extra souls? It's so overwhelming and scary that the only possible thing to do is laugh. At each other. With each other. And accept all of it for what it is: muddy bewilderment. But joyous muddy bewilderment for sure.
Last night he fell asleep as I wrote in my journal in the bed. He's always been like that: tired at the appropriate hour. I will be up longer, sleepy but wired, following thoughts down the rabbit hole, reading books that are stacked as high as my nightstand lamp and scattered across the floor at my bedside. They are tossed atop fine-tip sharpies and composition notebooks and bits of paper: reminders for my tomorrow. I look over at him-- the boy that is my husband!-- and the white sheet is drawn tight up against his chin, sand-papery and tan. Across the long lump he forms, his nightstand is dark and sparse: two magazines, the television remote, an extra earplug. He's dreaming; I'm thoughtful. He's so neat; I'm so messy. He will get up and conquer the day, and I will try too. We're so different in so many ways that sometimes I don't know how we got together. But I'm so grateful we did.