When Daniel and I were kids (by that I mean married without children), the plumbing at our house blew up.
Okay, it didn’t blow up. But it stopped working. And going 24 hours WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO FLUSH A TOILET is bad for newlywed morale.
Long story short, solving the problem using an external cleanout would be a few hundreds bucks. Doable. Installing the external cleanout on our older home would be about a thousand. Not doable.
Another night without functional toilets was not going to happen, so I went to my boss and asked for to take some vacation time to go home and help my husband do the installation.
Boss: “I would never let my wife dig a sewage line.“
Me: “I would kill my husband if he paid someone else a thousand bucks to dig a simple hole.“
Two Kinds of Women
Back then, I thought there were two kinds of women. There were beautiful, petite women like this man’s wife. Women that needed to be taken care of. You might even call them “fragile” women. And then there were women like me – exactly like men, only with different “equipment.”
I was an idiot. First of all, how that mother of four managed to maintain her sweet disposition, stay fit, make time for her husband and manage one toddler, two grade schoolers and one pre-teen I’ll never know. She made it look so effortless I really thought it was. That takes strength.
On the other hand, I had not yet faced my real limitations as a person. Being a career bad@$$ is not so hard when you push all week and then crash in your bed for 15 hours on the weekend. Being a parent that never gets enough sleep, works longer hours and is constantly faced with new challenges is DUH, much harder!
To be honest, it really surprised me that motherhood is more difficult than having a career. What has surprised me more, though, is that while I do often feel strong and beautiful, sometimes I feel the urge to surrender.
Our Big Scare
Until about six months ago I don’t know if I’ve ever really acted on that urge. Late one night, following a traumatic day that had Daniel and I up arguing into the wee hours, I began having scary contractions. I was only a couple of months pregnant and they were so strong I couldn’t walk.
After we called our midwife and got instructions, my husband picked me up and carried my to a warm epsom salt bath. I was still angry, but I surrendered to him. Not walking and complete relaxation was the best chance our baby had to survive. The contractions came and went for well over an hour, leaving me scared and exhausted. Walking at all brought them right back.
For the next 24 hours Daniel carried me everywhere. To the restroom. To the bath. To the bed. I wonder how many of you will understand when I say that although I was scared for my baby’s life, I was deeply affected by my husband’s tenderness, attentiveness and concern. Although he had tried before, I had never let myself receive it because it conflicted with my perception of the type of person I am.
That day set something in motion. My weakness had made me vulnerable enough to accept his help, and he touched my heart.
My Daughter Already Knows
I have learned about a bazillion things from watching my daughter interact with her daddy. When she says, “Daddy, I need some holding,” I see the expression on his face. That request is one of his favorites. A delight. A privilege.
From time to time, we should all have the privilege of doing this for another person. And we should give others the privilege of doing it for us.
Being carried doesn’t mean we’re not strong, or brave, or capable.
It means we’re loved.
How has the love of another carried you through a difficult time?
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