Son and Husband are in our living room. I’m just across from them, in our kitchen. Son holds a wooden green onion in one hand, Husband holds a stone obelisk. They are grinning at each other. Son shouts, “one, two, three, ready!”. They both turn to me, point the onion and the obelisk and shout, “Shazam!”. I laugh. A big laugh, a hearty laugh, and bounce up and down.
You see, a while ago, Son had a tantrum and he was feeling so sad. Son has big feelings and they linger a long time. He didn’t know how to feel better again, so I told him I had a magic wand that would make him feel happy. I took a stone obelisk off our mantle, pointed it at him and shouted, “Shazam!”. It perked him up a bit, then he immediately wanted to try it out too. I hadn’t thought of this. The stone was too heavy for him, so I told him the wooden green onion in his kitchen was magic too. He tried it on Husband first, then me, and we did our best to become instantly happy when he shouted, “Shazam!”. From that day on, Son used it on us more than we ever used it on him. Today is the first time both Son and Husband joined forces to magic me happy. Two magicians in shorts. The funny thing is, it actually works.
A lovely gem of a Sunday. Breakfast at a favourite restaurant, followed by Son playing with abandon at a nearby park. The perfect mix of activity and laziness, with minimal tantrums by any of us.
At the end of the day, Husband and I manage to convene in our living room, cuddled together with heads on the nursing pillow, as usual. The light shines on his face and I trace it over his cheekbones as he chats to me about something he’s interested in. I feel my eyelids begin to droop, the warmth and comfort of the moment pulling me gently towards sleep.
What’s your favourite moment today? What are you grateful for?
The light in the kitchen creates a little island in the dark of the evening. Husband and I are sweeping up the crumbs of the day.
Some nights we disappear into our distractions (podcasts, Netflix), but tonight we talk. We mull over Son’s latest behaviour, pick apart routines, sketch out schedules. This leads to more talking which leads to saying things that are hard to say. We are careful with our words and each other. We listen hard. I remember the day I decided to say “yes” to the adventure of a life with Husband. I’m glad to be walking this winding path with him.
Son is in his room, bathed and changed into PJs. Husband watches as Son pushes a red car around the room, pretending he’s Ryder from Paw Patrol, off on a mission with his highly talented pups.
I pass Son’s room and tiptoe into our room next door. Daughter is sleeping in her carrier. I kneel quietly by her swing and take her out of the carrier oh so gently. She tenses momentarily, then relaxes into the seat of the swing and closes her eyes. I exhale. She’s still asleep. Amazing. I quietly push the switch to start the swing. It rocks her gently back and forth.
Feeling lighter, I go to Son’s room and sit behind Husband in the doorway. Here, we are out of the way as “Ryder” zooms past with his car. Soon the play portion of bed-time will be done and I’ll brush Son’s teeth. But not quite yet. “Ryder” needs to finish the mission first. I lean against Husband’s back. His back is solid and warm. The warmth fills me as I breathe him in. I close my eyes and let myself rest.
I didn’t get much sleep last night. All day I’ve been tired and fighting a headache.
After Son goes to bed, the headache starts winning the fight and I retreat to the bedroom with Daughter. Daughter isn’t sleeping, and the headache turns to stomach ache. I put Daughter down while I head to the bathroom to throw up.
Husband, who has just finished doing all the dishes, comes to check on me. I can see the worry in his eyes. He picks up Daughter, who has been fussing, and gives me cajeput oil. As I rub it on my temples, the menthol smell surrounds and soothes me.
“Can I get you anything?”, he asks. “Ginger tea?”
“Ok”, I say. “Ginger tea, thanks.”
I crawl back into bed and nurse Daughter, who finally sleeps.
Husband comes quietly upstairs with the tea, made of love and care and help, just when I needed it.
Son and Daughter are both asleep upstairs. It’s the first time I’ve been able to put Daughter to bed so early in the evening and it feels strange and wonderful to have so much free time.
Husband and I rush to the living room and lie down on the hard floor, our heads sharing a nursing pillow.
This is the first time we’ve had so much time alone together since Daughter was born. We lie on our sides, faces close together, and talk about the day, sharing our stories of Son and Daughter, laughing together.
I am transported to the time before Son and Daughter, when we had endless time for talking and cuddling this way. I only dreamed then of what we have now.
I had almost forgotten what it was like to be just “us two”. The feeling gets diluted with three or four. And I see, maybe for the first time, the strength of our love. This love brought Husband and I together and Daughter and Son into the world. This love holds up our house, and I am reminded to nourish it.