Sunday, June 17, 2012

unity - the other people behind us

The girls both left this afternoon to spend a week each with a different grandmother.  This is such a wonderful opportunity for them both, and such wonderful timing for us as I am teaching 3 university courses online until next weekend and Doug is in a wedding for a very dear friend on Saturday.  That said, the house is quiet, I'm listening to a sweet ballad, and it's Father's Day.  It makes me think about what it would be like if we hadn't decided 9 years ago to try to start a family.  This would be just another Sunday.  The house wouldn't seem abnormally quiet.  I wouldn't find myself thinking "it's too quiet, what are they into".  It would be just another day.   I wouldn't have separated abdominals or a long scar.  My understanding of pain would be limited to kidney stones (and maybe my chest wouldn't be so big?).  I would probably have a much bigger retirement account, much nicer clothes, a cleaner house, and a smaller car.  I would be caught up on the books I want to read, movies I want to watch, and maybe even laundry I need to wash.  We would probably have traveled more.  I probably wouldn't live in this house or this neighborhood, since we picked it for its schools, proximity to parks, and family orientation.  We realized while house-shopping that the houses we liked most were the "before kids" houses; the fixer-uppers with great woodwork and good "bones".  They were the houses meant for another us, the us before we became parents.  That version of us is still with us, somewhere, behind us.

(with Jason on the right, who's joining the ranks of married folks this week)
But that old version of me would only know half of Doug, because the other half - the amazing and breathtaking part that bloomed out of nowhere the instant he held Cora for the first time - would never have appeared, no matter how much we've loved our dogs and nieces/nephews.

I would never have known how comfortable I could be feeling utterly vulnerable and trusting him completely.

I would never see how painstakingly patient he could be at moments when everyone else in the room was fuming and raging.  I would never see how tender he could be to a little person with hurt feelings or how encouraging and supportive he is to a little person learning a new skill.

We wouldn't have had half of the belly-quaking laughs we have shared, nor the moments of sitting near a little person's bed listening to her breathe and feeling very much together in the dark and quiet.  We wouldn't have a sense of neighborhood and community in the same way we do now.  We would never have shared a deep loss of hope and expectation and come through it understanding that we have enough, together we are enough.  Without our children we would be a great couple, a fun couple, a perhaps more interesting couple, but only half of what we are now.

Unity:  an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting