Husband’s home. I think the most important aspect of his return is us – he and I. If that doesn’t work, it’s all a facade. And each time he leaves for a trip, or we have to separate because of how our schedules clash, there’s an assumption that we will be okay, more than okay, with our reunion. If I thought about it longer than usual, I’d probably have to recognize the risk involved with putting those demands on our relationship; the expectation that we will grow and shift and desire in the same way as time passes.
But we do, and that is our greatest strength and our greatest joy. This connection is what we have come to rely upon above all else. Distance challenges everything because in order to deal with the space between us and be happy, we have to fill it with something else. Husband fills it with work and a more selfish life-style; every decision involves only having to please himself and yeah, for a while there’s some joy in that! I am the opposite – surrounded by the boys and their constant needs, I throw myself into family life whole heartedly and completely, allowing myself to be defined by this role.
Now that the connection is made and I feel safe with it, I have to try and let go wanting to throttle him!!! Husband is a fantastic dad, hands on, willing, patient and loving. But he’s a dad, a man. They do things so differently and with a much deeper voice! My maternal instincts are to throw myself in front of whichever child he is questioning, the way my mother used to protect us from my father. I so remember that; in her mind she was allowed to say whatever she wanted to us, but when my dad got involved without her asking, she became the lioness of the jungle, defending her cubs to the end. I realize that the flow I created over the last several months shifted instantly with two parents now involved. Husband was wondering why the boys weren’t reading one weekend morning and little one (running around near to naked) announced that ‘mom isn’t as mean and doesn’t make us read!’ The thanks I get.
Which brings me to my next observation. I’m starting to believe that children are truly born a certain way, wired to be sensitive, secure, confident, depressed, hyper, insecure, easy-going… We provide life experiences and help guide them to be the best they can be, but who they are is there, in the beginning, in their hard drive. Part of my job is to figure out exactly who they are and then, help encourage the good attributes and deal with the difficult stuff accordingly. You can’t make a monkey into an elephant; you can’t expect your kid to be something totally different from their soul self. We waste so much time missing this simple reality.
My point is…I know my boys because I’m with them so much and I can anticipate them very well. And when Husband is back with us, the balancing act for me is about letting him get up to speed on what’s going on and how to give them what they need; but in his way, the dad way, the loud and sometimes crazy way. His observations are also different from mine and he catches things I’ve missed. I found out that one son has just sold his army toy collection and backpack to his younger brother for $10. Aside from the fact that I must have paid at least $100 for the total contents, I couldn’t believe he did this. When asked about it, he replied, “I’m too old to play with toys.” My heart sank. I know it’s a right of passage into the next stage of boyhood, but I wasn’t prepared for this son to move on just yet. Only last week I caught them in the tub playing ‘guys’. These moments really are this precious, this fleeting now. And it happened that fast, from one day to the next. Husband felt the jubilation in the moment; I felt panic.
Husband gives rise to the yin of our lives whilst I, in turn, the yang, and together we make good Chinese food.