We hired some help recently. Just a little help. So I can have a mere hour or two a week to actually get things done, work on my career, or maybe just sit in an empty room doing nothing. Because, after a year of being with Emerson every waking (and non-waking) moment of my life without even one day (or night!) off…..sister needs. some. help. And so, I asked an amazing high school girl I met a few months ago to help us out.
But then, the day arrived. For the first time EVER, I was off the clock. And Alex came home early from work. So, we were both off the clock. The problem was we had no idea what to do with it. Emerson—who usually will not let me leave her alone with anyone other than Alex—suddenly didn't need me. She was totally in love with her new friend and didn't even notice, let alone cry, when I left the room. I was astonished and suddenly found myself wandering around the house, feeling nervous and confused, not knowing what to do.
But then I bumped into Alex in the living room and felt a spark of excitement. "We are alone in a room without a baby!" I said, expecting to be met with equal excitement. But, my husband just looked up the staircase to the bedroom, and said he wanted to take a nap.
"A nap?! But, we're alone in a room. Isn't this what we've been missing the past year? What about all the months you've spent feeling lonely, because I'm always with Emerson?"
"Yah…..I guess you're right. What do you want to do?"
"I don't know. Maybe we could just sit on the couch and talk. Or cuddle? We never get to do that!"
And so, we sat down together, but it felt strange. No one was interrupting us. No one tried to tackle us apart when we cuddled. Was Emerson okay? What was she doing right now? No. Push it out of your mind. Enjoy this moment. Talk about something interesting. Make out. Come on...
The thing is, in the absence of our baby, we felt free. But, we were not free in the way we used to be. No. Now, freedom meant not having to find our second, third, fourth or fifth wind of the day. Freedom meant not having to ignore our needs and aches for the well-being of another. Freedom meant abruptly feeling the weight of an entire year tending to our child come crashing down on us. And so, after five minutes of talking about Emerson, the room began to spin. All that cuddling on a soft, comfortable couch was too much for us—we were just two exhausted parents.
"Just go take a nap, baby. That's really all you're capable of right now."
Alex rolled off the couch and dragged himself up the staircase as I sat in the living room comatose...until I was needed again.
This is our life.