i adore men.
i really do.
my husband in particular.
but sometimes they drive me crazy.
to quote one of my favorite people, anne lamott, “part of me loves and respects men so desperately, and part of me thinks they are so embarrassingly incompetent at life and in love. you have to teach them the very basics of emotional literacy. you have to teach them how to be there for you, and part of me feels tender toward them and gentle, and part of me is so afraid of them, afraid of any more violation.”
he asked me to take care of him forever.
i was putting a cool cloth on his forehead, 10 years ago, and him retching a migraine into a bucket when he asked me this, and “of course, babes,” i said, til death do us part.
it was so much easier to be sympathetic when we were dating.
now, he throws up and i ask him if he’ll kindly clean it up, and could he please be quiet? “i’m trying to work.”
why is compassion so easy when it comes to my boys, and so hard when it comes to the man who lets me stick my cold feet on him at night and makes me cheesy nachos and prays over me when i’m having a sad day?
he’s been holding me extra tight lately. and me, him. we’re holding onto each other like lifeboats… the world swirling around us, and this marriage, the eye of the storm.
and if i don’t open my heart to him, if i don’t absolutely adore and respect and feel for him what i want to represent to the world, nothing else matters.
this love-tower will crumble and our boys–all four of them, soon–will be trapped in the remains.
so i am learning, slowly, to renew my promise to take care of him, forever–to learn a tender kind of love which poets write of–and to do it with a sympathy that doesn’t roll its eyes when he says he’s tired (and i’ve been up all night nursing).