Let me give you a breakdown of my past few days. On Wednesday afternoon, I picked Rosebud up from school after working all day on a project that I’m almost positive will eventually kill me. We got home and I began cooking dinner–when I found that Kroger forgot to bag a few of the items we paid for–one of which was essential to our meal. So I went to Kroger and took care of that. During that time, Rosebud decided that the Terrible Twos had been pent up long enough and really needed to exercise their freedom. Needless to say she got in trouble and once at home, got put in time out.
She peed in the floor.
Let me repeat myself. The kid made eye-contact with me, jutted out her hips, lifted up her dress, and peed. in. the. floor. She had this maniacal look in her eye like the Joker right before he slammed that guy’s head down on the pencil. “Hey mom: you want to see a magic trick?”
I almost burned dinner while I clean-scrubbed the carpet and I fumed that this is what my life had boiled down to. After an uneventful dinner, Rosebud took a bath and got into bed. She’d had a bit of a stuffy nose, but no fever, so we did supportive care. I slathered her in Vicks, plugged up the humidifier, suctioned out her nose and assumed all was well.
She does that sometimes. She lulls me into a false sense of security.
Doc and I were finally getting in bed after a long first half of the week and over the monitor I hear a sniffle, and then a cry, and then a wail, and then “MOMMMMYYYY.” The poor child couldn’t sleep or relax because she kept coughing and everybody knows that when you wake up sick or miserable, you wake up your mom to be miserable with you. It’s in the book. Except for, oh wait, I’m the mom now.
Since Doc had to be up for morning rounds/report/whatever it is they do at the hospital early in the morning, she and I went into the guest room to sleep. I say sleep, but what I really mean is that Rosebud tossed and turned while coughing nonstop and kicking me in the eye/chin/forehead repeatedly; and I kept putting my hand on her chest to check if she was wheezing and staring at the ceiling praying for for deliverance.
Typically Rosebud is a late sleeper, but the fates like to play cruel jokes on people and on Thursday morning she woke up at 7:30 raring to go. Raring, i.e. jumping on me, laughing, poking me in the eye, opening my mouth to “finds mommy’s tongue” and causing general disruption. Up we got. And the first thought on my mind was “thank God for nap time.” God probably had a good laugh right then. He knew what was coming. Rosebud fought nap time like it was the Revolutionary War of Independence from sleep. And she won–by God did she win.
It just so happens that the Great Nap Battle of 2015 coincided with a day that Doc was admitting patients and again, whatever it is they do over there–so guess what time he got home? 9:30. PM. At night. After dark. So dinner time/forcing vegetables down my kid’s throat while she cries for pizza picnics, and bath time/washing my kid’s hair while she screams like she’s being waterboarded for my own amusement—all that was on me.
I finally got Rosebud washed, lotioned, and hogtied so I could brush her teeth and into bed. I made the coffee for the next morning, packed Doc’s lunch for the next day, laid out his clothes so he wouldn’t look like he got dressed out of Barney’s Bag, and started a load of laundry. I sat down on the couch to watch the last 15 minutes of 13 Going on 30 and realized I hadn’t eaten supper so I ate a cup of yogurt, a handful of peanuts, and some of the M&M’s we keep for Rosebud’s potty prizes.
And I stared mindlessly at the ceiling.
And it was good. It was so good.
After holding and rocking and tickling and laughing and worrying and rushing–all I wanted to do was sit and stare at the ceiling while half-watching some mind-numbing chick flick that wouldn’t make me think or wipe its butt.
But oh wait a minute–I have a husband. And he’s sitting on the couch looking at me like he’s afraid I might bite his head off if he touches me. I don’t even mean figuratively, I mean literally, physically lean over and bite him. And to be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to take the effort to hold his hand or ask him about his day or how he felt. I didn’t want to be needed by anything else for at least the next eight hours.
Except I vowed to love him in the busy times and in the quiet times; in the tired times and in the well-rested times. And even in the times when he forgets to take the trash can to the end of the road and I have to do it at 7:00 in the morning.
I would never submit to you that motherhood is an easy job, but being a wife is by far more difficult. It is easy to love the bouncing toddler with the bright blue eyes and the chubby cheeks. It is easy to forgive their antics and tantrums. But loving and forgiving your spouse doesn’t always come so naturally. On some days, you have to make the decision to be present. On some days, you have to make the decision to be a wife.
This is what love is. This is what should be glorified in story books, not a silly story of a glass slipper. Our minds and hearts have been fooled into thinking that love is this and relationships are that; but when it comes right down to it, sometimes, you just have to get through. It’s not always going to be perfect or easy or fun. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise–to give something up in order to gain something greater.
Maybe that doesn’t sound like story-book romance to you. But I can tell you that when my husband chooses to love me despite my bad mood, it gives me goosebumps. And when my husband chooses to love me after working at a hospital for 19 hours straight with no sleep, my heart flip flops.
And that’s the way I’d rather have it. I don’t want my love to look like a heart shaped box of chocolates next to a bouquet of roses. I want my love to be weathered, and worn, with dirt under the fingernails and sweat dripping down, ready to fight.
I’m forever grateful that I married a man that makes the decision an easy one, and that he holds my hand, even when I don’t want him to.
Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.