BY JONATHAN MUNROE
I poured out of the left side of our bed, yes, the left because that’s the side my wife decided to push me off of today. I carefully opened the door and closed it quietly behind me. Yesterday she pushed me off of the bed with violent kicks and a punch to the face, so you can say today was a good start. Getting angry doesn’t make much sense because I know it’s really not her fault. She was up the entire night with our screaming two-month-old Nephalem, the likes of which we have never seen. A smile slowly crept up my face at the thought of the two of them on the other side of the door, really wanting to crawl back into bed and hold them both for just a few moments longer.
The shower is no longer a comforting place because it’s just another task that needs to be completed before I have to don my prison clothes known as a work uniform, and head to my cell where I spend over 70 hours a week. It used to be the place where I could go to enjoy music, let the water roll off my back in an attempt to wake up and start my day, but now I can’t help but let my mind wander and get lost in the thoughts that I despise.
Why are we constantly fighting?
Why can’t she just get back to work and leave him alone?
Why do they both have to cry so much?
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines a relationship as “a romantic or passionate attachment”. This definition actually had me laughing as I was reading it. Romance? Passion? Such entities have not existed for some time, about 11 months if my mind serves me right. Mind you, it is not of lack of trying. I distinctly remember a time where I tried to be as romantic as possible for her. I know her inner most feelings, as I better, seeing as I have been married to her for the better part of a decade. I did the laundry (including washing, drying, folding, and putting them away). I washed the dishes, and vacuumed the carpet and the couches. I even bought new candles to make the whole house smell cleaner than it already was. As I made the bed, I felt exhausted. I had to make sure that everything was perfect, but when she walked into the house, it seemed like it was just another day. I barely received a thank you. While I know that you should never do something looking for reward, a slight bit of gratitude would be appreciated.
Why can’t she just be happy?
Am I the problem?
Maybe it’s something I’ve done, (normally is).
Stepping out of the shower and into my clothes, I stole one last glance at the two loves of my life and walked out the door. I wish I knew the answers to the questions that have plagued my mind. I just wish I had an answer for all of her worries.
I remember waking up one night, bed as empty as my stomach—I went to bed without eating—I reached for my phone. Before my son was born we both agreed we were going to have a wireless camera installed in the nursery so that we could keep track of him at night. There is a baby monitor next to her side of the bed and an app on my phone that allows me to control the camera, both video and sound. I’ll never forget what followed because it answered so much, yet created more questions.
The single Winnie The Pooh lamp illuminated the room where I could make out my wife holding our son, rocking him back and forth in the glider that she proudly hand-picked, legs propped up on the matching ottoman. The bottle she was holding, that provided the sustenance our son needed was not the only liquid I could see on the screen. Tears were pouring down my wife’s face and even though the bottle stifled my son’s cries, little whimpers could still be heard. I could barely make out the smallest of whispers she was speaking to our son. Apologizing and second-guessing herself.
Did I love you enough today?
Did I hold you enough today?
Merriam has defined epiphany as a “revealing scene or moment in time.” As I watched her sniffle and wipe away her tears I started to have my own epiphany. She has been with this person for over nine months—kicking her, punching her—and feeling his heart beat in syncopation with hers. We are always fighting because I can’t for a second understand the connection between a mother and her child. When you have been with someone as close as they have been for this long, it’s not as easy to let a baby cry or to quickly go back to work. She cries because she wants to be the best mother that she can be, but there is no manual to motherhood. Though I will say that her iPhone and Google are never more than an arm’s reach away.
That was the moment I realized that she is going through a great deal. Her body is physically changing and reforming to what it was before. Her mind is adapting to a mindset of needing to take care of more than just herself. The passion has not gone, but manifested itself as something else.
I have found that the best thing that I can do for her is to try and understand. I need to keep an ear open and understand that sometimes she will need to vent. I have to understand that some days she will want to scream her lungs out because she doesn’t know what to do and understand that this is a learning experience for the both of us. This experience is a growing pain for you both that will result in wondrous rewards if you let it.
With this understanding I would like to pledge this to my wife and my beautiful son:
I promise to try my best to understand. I promise to try and do my part, even if I mess it up! I promise to always be your rock when you need to feel sturdy. I promise to be your safe place to rest or cry. I will never judge you for your stretch marks, because they only make you more beautiful. I will never make fun of you for crying, unless doing it to imitate him because you know that it makes him laugh. I promise to never stop trying to be the best husband and father I can be, though please remember, I am working it out just like you are. I promise to never go to bed mad at you, even if we piss each other off. We have always agreed to love each other, even though we might not like each other right now. I promise to set the right example for our son and show him what it is like to have a father, even though I never did. Most of all, I promise to be there as much as I can. I love you.