Monday 23 July 2012

Sometimes love is tolerating each other's meltdowns

I can’t remember exactly what we promised in our wedding vows. We wrote the ceremony ourselves so it was probably something totally profound. Probably. But the details are buried in some dusty drawer at the back of my brain. I’d have to dig behind the shiny new memories of Mac’s first taste of watermelon and his new habit of dancing to music to find them. And truthfully I’m just too tired right now. But they probably said some of the standard stuff - for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. 

When I married her it was with my whole heart. Every ounce of me loving every ounce of her. And I thought it would always be like that. All shiny and washed in light. And sometimes it is. But sometimes it's not. Today is the “or worse.”

She has been driving me up the wall with an almost manic need to get the house baby-proofed. Yesterday she painted a baby gate black and installed it into the fireplace. Terrified of the cement blocks in front of the fireplace she bought rubber mats to cushion any potential falls. And instead of buying those brightly coloured ones that all parents seem to have (and we swore we never would) she bought black ones thinking that they would make me less complain-y. But now instead of looking like they were put there to protect our child it looks like we are purposefully decorating with ugly black foam inter-locking mats. I need an engineering degree to get into the silverware drawer (that he couldn’t reach to begin with) and don’t even get me started on his onesie drawer. 

And I’m moody. And brooding. I am doing my best ostrich impression trying to pretend that this birthday isn’t approaching me at light speed. One year. It sounds too impossible to be true. I feel like at any moment Ashton Kutcher could jump out and tell me that I’ve been punked. 
She’s planning a birthday party for our sweet boy and I’m refusing to help. Not outright. Just passive aggressively. Which is always super productive. I refuse to invite our friends. Emailing friends, or really anything that involves the internet, is usually my job. And if you are married you know that when you mess with assigned roles the whole space-time continuum of the relationship gets helter skelter. She sits at the computer as if the whole contraption is new to her. Who are our friends? How do I send an email? 
Cooking is also my job. But she’s smart enough to deduce that having to cook for this event will probably crush my soul. Or something less intense. So she suggests we order pizza. I am simultaneously relieved that I don’t have to cook and annoyed that she thinks I’m not capable. 
She’s feeling under appreciated. I don’t fall all over her with praise for installing the weird black mats in front of the fireplace. And when she calls me on it I don’t have the energy to fake it. I’m apathetic. It all just seems to pale in comparison to the fact that my baby, my tiny little baby, is turning one. A whole damn year has passed and it feels like yesterday. 

Mac: Day 1
I’m feeling tired and overworked. Following a busy toddler (see what I said there? Toddler. Not baby. Toddler. Ugh.) is a lot of work and it doesn’t leave sufficient time for pouting or brooding. And then the fact that I want to pout and brood makes me feel like an asshole. Almost a year ago he was born with an Apgar score of one. Zero means dead. How lucky we are to have him here - healthy, happy. How many parents had it go the other way? What would they give to celebrate a first birthday? And why does feeling like an asshole always make me act like more of one?
So we are both having simultaneous but different meltdowns. And suddenly instead of me and her it’s me against her which is the absolute worst way to be. Fighting feels pointless. We are married. We are not getting divorced. I would fight tooth and nail for this marriage if it ever came down to it. So I should probably just apologize, be softer, say thank-you. Because what am I complaining about really? That my son’s mother wants to celebrate the first year of his life? That she wants to keep him safe? The nerve of her! 
Sometimes love is all shiny and wedding-y. It’s polished and sun-lit and full of potential. It’s deep gazing into one another’s eyes as if the secret of life is buried in there just beyond the irises. Other times it’s more subtle but equally powerful. Sometimes love is tolerating each other’s meltdowns. Today I will re-close every baby-proofing contraption I open. Even the latch on the silverware drawer that he can’t reach anyway. And she can order pizza for this party but I’m going to make the cake. 

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