I don’t have a love poem or a sultry story to share, I thought. So I should skip it. Don’t post something without vigor. Without the blissed out flavor of Holidays past. Don’t tell the world about how you forgot Valentine’s Day cards for the kids and spaced out completely about Valentine’s Day parties.
The day slogged on, a horrible day filled with pointless doctor visits and rain at the grocery store, where while inside I managed to accost a man buying Mother’s Milk tea and corn syrup to put in the baby’s formula. Oh, I wouldn’t do that, I said while dispensing totally unsolicited advice. Like
a boss an ass. One more interaction that seals it for me that I hate leaving my house. The people out there, I can’t take it.
It hit me while I wandered the store tossing ingredients for enchiladas into the cart: I’m doing this for him. I am here, even though he would and usually does take on this chore, because I need to do at least one thing today that tells him I love him. I know. So old married couple, right? It’s not that. The thing is that since I’ve been getting sicker when we’d hoped I’d get better, he does everything. The playing, the lunches, the homework. He does them and I don’t know how he feels about it because part of what we do is pick our battles carefully. For a while I thought we were this way because we didn’t like each other’s company, but now I begin to see that all the overlooking of quirks, faults, sick days, socks on the floor, dumb purchases-these are all expressions of deep love. I look at something that makes me angry and I slowly roll around to this thought: “nothing that happened here was designed to hurt you. We are not a couple who uses pet peeves or passive aggressive actions to hurt one another. Glasses on the nightstand are what they are and nothing more. Laundry in the dryer is just laundry to fold. A period of silence after work isn’t aimed at you. Maybe it’s not about you at all.”
I spent the day hating myself and what I’ve become as a person and a partner and a mother. There are just so many days like this. A little scrap of conversation here-a new TV show marathon there- that’s my fuel sometimes for days. He still wants to be with me. He cares.
What they don’t tell caretakers of the ill is that they’ll never be allowed to have a real problem again. I wish I could tell you how long and how often I dwell on this, turning the guilt over in my mind for hours.
This holiday is so stupid. So commercial. So much fair weather love. I wonder...could it also be the New Year’s Eve of our love? A time for resolution?
Here is what I know: when you give another person any part of yourself purely out of love, be it actions, words, skin: the internal reward is an opening of a closed up flower. A dim light in an icy window. I wish I could remember this feeling all day, every day. There is so much strength in giving.
Whenever I feel the least loved, what chases that feeling away is stretching to the end of what I know, and giving love freely.
I don’t know why he is so good to me. This is not the trip he signed up for. Sometimes it hurts even to share dreams with each other, given our situation. Sometimes I think he might leave me, and I would accept it. I think back on how we were and want those things for him again.
But we are partners and I love him. I want to be better.
He watched Breaking Dawn with me. I mean, what more can someone ask of their mate?
This new brand of depression, packaged with what they’re calling perimenopause, is cruel and hopeless. I often sense that nothing will ever be right again, and I notice that my family is slipping away. I don’t know how to fight to get them back. I just, every day, wake up and try to pick a few things that will make them happy, in hopes that little by little they’ll see that I am so very much trying to be here, even as I burrow under the covers for another day of research and budgeting.
I am loved. I am grateful for that. And apologetic, deeply sorry, for the love I haven’t been able to give. I promise to do better.