Every few months, I ask my husband if he would like to write a blog post. He then reminds me that he is in the medical profession for a reason. Writing feels like a form of torture to him. But when I asked him if he wanted to guest post for Father's Day, he seemed enthusiastic. Well, almost. He wanted to write something. Well, sort of. Here's how that went:
"Are you going to write something for Father's Day?"
"Sure. I don't know what to write."
"How are you feeling about Father's Day?"
"Happy to have these perfect babies. All three of them. I miss Lucy and am thankful for Thor."
"So you still feel like you are actively grieving?"
"Yes, absolutely. I think of Lucy all day at work. Just like my other children."
"And Father's day is a double whammy because you miss your dad."
"So you are grieving Lucy and your dad. Being a dad and having a dad."
"Yeah. It was hard tonight with those ladies at the restaurant."
"'You have the perfect family. A boy and girl and now you are going to stop.' I wanted them to shut up."
"Me too. But it seemed like too many people, paying too much attention, to tell them about Lucy. I feel protective of her and us in that situation."
"Yeah. I hate that, though."
"People see something different than what we are."
"Yeah. So are you going to write a post?"
"I don't know what to write about. Aren't you interviewing me? Can't you just use this?"
"I'm not taking notes. Write about what you are talking about."
"You have a good memory. Just use this."
"I just thought it would help if you wrote about this stuff."
"No, writing isn't an impulse for me. I get nothing out of it."
"It is for me."
"Yeah, I know."
Watching your best friend grieve is just another cruel layer of this shit cake. My best friend's daughter died. In me. We cling to each other, like we are lost in the desert, some days.
"I'm sorry for you."
"And I'm sorry for you."
"Your daughter too."
Our shades are perpetually drawn, and the outside world feels very far away. This is the life we created. Or rather, this is the life we live. It is a house with art supplies and a pull up bar in the dining room, sleeping bags leaning in the corners of the room, and handmade balance beams to trip over. Some mornings I find a tent set up in the middle of the living room floor with looooong man legs, a black dog's tail and a princess wand sticking out of the half-zipped door.
Grief does such a number on all those little things that make a marriage great. Laughter, sex, lightness. Somehow, though, we are still here. Even though I often feel weak and sad, I am sure I would not be nearly as strong and happy as I am if he wasn't standing beside me. Even when I am sad, he can always draw a long chuckle out of me. His irreverence frees me. Makes me feel understood. He will listen intently and mirror my indignation. Some days, that is enough for me.
The way he wipes the mouths of the children with the back of his hand makes my heart flutter. It is a subtle movement of a finger, or the turn of his wrist. It is innocuous to anyone but me, but I get all gaga. "This is the father of my children." That is what that movement says.
We have been through so much in five years/four years of marriage--the birth of three children, the death of a two grandparents, one parent and one child. Accidents. Sickness. Fear. Grief. Many bottles of wine. Some beer. One movie. Lots of baths. And through it, I can say that I am always amazed at his fathering. He is the jungle gym. The snot remover. The temperature taker. The bandager of boo-boos. The Giant to Beezus's princess. I wish I could give him the one thing that is impossible to give him for Father's Day. But I just give him this:
Husband, you are the most noble man I have ever met. Thank you for standing straight and tall and loving me, despite my flaws, or because of them. Thank you for helping me make up the rules of the house. Thank you for being on my team. Thank you for teaching our children that men can cry. Thank you for thinking Cussing Wednesday is a good idea. Thank you for allowing Lucy to play a significant role in this family. Thank you for participating in the talk about where babies come from. Thank you for playing Chutes and Ladders when I want to answer emails. Thank you for being beautiful and kind and funny and weird. Thank you for letting me cry. Thank you for putting up with my snarky comments about your elf books. Thank you for being an incredible father. I love you.
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers missing a little one. May it be a gentle day.