As a mother with small children many of my difficulties currently lay in their very adorable hands. Viola has taken to biting me so hard it makes me break out into a sweat. That girl wants to get her way and will rip a chunk out of anyone that has other ideas. I often have other ideas. We are working on giving her tools to deal with disappointment other than her teeth. It is a process. A red, bite mark filled process.
Our days with Zuzu are getting better and better. She helps and says please and yes, ma'am. The nights have become more difficult. Bed time is a battle royale in which we are always the ragged, tired, "Don't say another word" victors. I am learning to always speak quietly and with love when presented with her complete hysteria. Learning is the right word because sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it so, so wrong. She and I and the rest of us will work through this until it has spent itself. And then we will start in on the next lesson, the next need, the next must.
And then there is marriage. An institution I sometimes feel too tired to enjoy but always need to sustain me, to lift me, to remind me I am not alone. There are some nights when I need to remind myself to come out of hiding. That talking, reading, even watching bad TV with Riley will refresh me more thoroughly than nearly anything. He is my partner in this grand, hard, boring, exhilarating adventure. He is the other half helping me with the biting and tears. The only one in the entire world as interested as I am in our girls - their happiness, sadness, hopes, disappointments, bumps and preschool triumphs. I don't know why my instinct is often to go it alone - to take care of the girls, take care of myself, take care of life without him. I suppose I find myself unwilling to be a nuisance, hoping I won't bother him, wishing he didn't have to worry.
But then at night, when he is asleep but his arm still holds me, I am reminded of the thing that helps to animate our lives. That boy, the one that makes sure the dishes are done before I wake up. The boy that reads to the girls and throws them so far up in the air they think they might touch the clouds. The boy that dances to Taylor Swift with a daughter in each arm. The boy that tells me I can write and dream and tells me I am beautiful even when I ugly cry. (And I mean U-G-L-Y cry.) I need to let him worry, I have to share the burdens as well as the joys. Anything else is unfair. Anything else expects less from a man that was made to give more.
That man lives for us.
And if we let it, that will help us make it joyfully through one more day.