Tuesday, February 3, 2015

a love like this [in sickness and in health]

Every morning he woke up with our son at seven thirty while I rolled over in bed and felt my aching body and stuffy nose and puffy, red eyes beg for more sleep and an entire bed to sprawl out in and our small twin comforter all to myself because we have yet to go pick out new bedding even though we say that it's on The List. And I would sleep for two or three or four more hours and wake up not rested and not better but there would be lunch and hot tea or half a pot of coffee and a baby who was ready for his nap which meant that I could go back to sleep for an hour and a half. And there were parents called for backup duty when my body could not possibly care for another and accommodations made for college group so that he could be here with me instead and there were the quiet whispering prayers of the ten college students who come into our home on Wednesday nights to do life together. There were three trips to the Target Pharmacy and one ailing trip to the eye doctor which resulted in more tears in our kitchen with the sticky dye running down my face and shaking hands and a fearful heart. There were two trips to the tea store to bring back the ten dollar tea filled with herbs and voodoo magic. There weren't grumbles or complaints about the constant coming and going and the neediness of my sickness. There weren't sighs about my sleeping habits or a morning of pretend sleeping while a child screamed for a fresh diaper and breakfast from the next room. There weren't complaints about the five showers I took every day or the three I took throughout the nights and the lack of towels for everyone else in the household. And when not even Nyquil could keep me asleep at night and hot showers didn't clear the stuffiness and the rice bags cooled down too quickly and I tossed and turned and kicked and pulled all of the covers to my side of the bed and threw my pillows off only to get out of bed and pick them up again and when the three hundred ounces of water I was drinking each day to clear my body of all the toxins had me up every hour, there was no scolding or requests for less movement and less noise and suggestions to just up my Nyquil dose to comatose level four and maybe try the couch instead.

And I repaid him by being upset with him that I hadn't eaten dinner on Friday. It was a culmination of everything: being sick, being tired, cabin fever, a constant chill, et cetera. And instead of defending himself with the list of things he had done for me all week, proclaiming my ignorance and rudeness and opening the fridge to reveal the endless options of dinner I could have made for myself, he felt guilt and inadequacy, which was the last thing I wanted him to feel even though I was being unreasonable in a way that didn't make any sense.

And it's not about keeping score of who does what for who when and how often and I know that he would never list these things back to me one Saturday morning when our bed is just the right temperature and the pillows are perfectly indented for his head and his eyes are heavy with sleep because I undoubtedly kept him up late talking the night before, asking me to please go get the babe and let him sleep in. It would be quite the opposite and I would most likely be the one rolling out of bed two hours later while he has read the same book fifteen times in a row and spent 80-percent of the morning negotiating with a toddler about why fruit snacks are not actually a valid breakfast option.

We made vows to love each other in sickness and in health and I'm sure in that moment neither of us gave this a second thought. You rarely give anything a second thought when you're standing before your closest friends and family and all you can think over and over again is that you're finally marrying your best friend and that rings so loudly in your mind that you hear nothing else. But there it was, this vow that you made on your wedding day to love each other in sickness. And in health. And here it is now. It's not cancer or death or a stroke. It's not a missing limb or a brain injury or surgery. But it could be and if it is, I know that he will love me through it and beyond it and forever and ever because he heard that promise and he took it to heart. I can only hope that given the chance, I can prove to him that I did, too.

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