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October 28, 2012

Luxury items: Neal

Filed under: Chronic illness, Family, Lindsay loves Neal, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: , , , , — llcall @ 12:52 pm

It’s 3:00 am and I’ve woken up sick. There were some little inklings that I might be headed this direction, like when I laid down and couldn’t get up for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. Or when I thought I might vomit just before I got in bed. But otherwise, I have a lot of things planned this week and had no intention of spending half the night awake and green and trying very hard not to lose everything I ate yesterday.

But while I do those things, I’ve been thinking of Neal. How lucky am I to know that tomorrow morning when Addison wakes up ready to grab another day by the horns and beat it into submission — or at least make it clap for her constantly —  I can still stay in bed and nurse this sickly body? I won’t have to explain to Neal what to do with her, what to feed her, how to dress her for church, or what to pack in the diaper bag. I learned what a luxury all that is two summers ago at a book group where more than a few women were bemoaning the fact that they could not leave their husbands alone with the kids without returning to dirty, naked children, piles of food on the floor, and kitchen cupboards left open (Neal sometimes does that one). It’s both a luxury and a choice, but today I’m focused on the luxury.

I cannot imagine a better father than Neal. He’s so mild and calm and sensitive. I’ve had to encourage him to develop a stern-parent voice (cause you’ve gotta have one of those with a kid like Addison on the loose), but I’m grateful that in the now 8 years I’ve known him I’ve heard only two harsh things escape his mouth (neither of which were directed at me or Addison). His ability to stay calm under pressure has been no small feat over the last week as Addison inexplicably forgot how to fall asleep and STAY asleep (because, really, the mere falling asleep is USELESS to us!). I don’t think I could have stayed as good-natured while Addison pitifully explained to me over and over again, “But I don’t know how to sleep” at 1:00 am.

Of course, sometimes Neal and I have our differences in terms of parenting practices. Like last week when I heard Addison banging something against her gate in protest of quiet time. It turned out to be the thermometer. The thermometer we bought just the day before to see how high her temperature had gone. When I took it away, she was inconsolable, sobbing, “But daddy gave it to me. Daddy GAVE IT TO ME,” which I knew could not possibly be true. Except that it was. He dutifully explained to her that he had made a mistake in giving a two-year-old a brand new, expensive (defined as anything over $10 in our house) thermometer to attempt to crush against walls and various other surfaces. But what I loved most was when he came back into our room and said, “Did you see how I didn’t throw you under the bus there? ‘Cause I could have.” I love that we share an underlying vision of how we want to raise our daughter and rule number 1 is don’t throw each other under the bus. Rule number 2 involves bringing Jawas into the conversation as often as possible.

From Raised by my daughter, of course

In short, I adore my Neal. The way I can depend on him, every moment of every day. The way he’s gotten a teeny-tiny bit more flexible about our schedule changing at a moment’s notice, even though he is almost certainly hard-wired against said flexibility. The way he reflects on parenting by drawing stick figures in his spare time. Life is just so much better with him by my side.

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