The prompt is to describe a scene from your life that would help show a person your true self.
In a quaint and cramped Mexican restaurant, my husband and I sat across from each other, hardly knowing what to talk about.
So, we talked about our son. Our baby. Our beautiful, colicky, screaming baby.
“What do you think they’re doing right now?” my husband asked.
“Crying. They’re all crying,” I said cynically.
My husband nodded silently and took another sip of his margarita.
We had a night away on my birthday. Our son was with babysitters. We should have been partying down like our old carefree selves, but instead all we needed was a moment of silence.
We hardly knew how to speak to each other anymore without shouting at each other over the screaming of our son. I judged myself, as always, too harshly for feeling confusion and helplessness when mothering my own child. I was scared that I wouldn’t survive it. I was scared our marriage wouldn’t survive it. The emotion of it all sometimes seemed too much to bear.
I needed some reassurance from my husband. I needed to know that we were in this together. I needed to know that HE thought I was ok, even if I wasn’t so sure about myself.
“It’s been really hard,” I started.
“Yeah,” was all my husband said.
“I don’t know how I could do it without you,” I said. “Can you imagine people who are alone and have an infant?”
“No, not at all,” my husband said while shaking his head.
My husband looked up at me. He looked straight in my eyes. His eyes were filling with tears. He looked away, and then down and rubbed his face.
“It’s just been really hard,” he said, not able to speak anymore, trying to choke back the tears.
My entire insides shifted. I could not believe that my husband was so affected. It surprised me that he was showing himself to be so vulnerable. At that moment, I knew I was not alone. I knew this was all way more than just about me and my feelings. Instead of needing reassurance, I needed to reassure. My energy changed and all I yearned to do was comfort. And fix.
“Oh, honey,” I said, leaning forward, “You know what I tell myself sometimes when it all feels too hard?”
He looked at me.
I continued, “I tell myself that maybe God gave us Parker because we can handle it. You know?”
He nodded and kept looking at me.
“We CAN handle it. Just think. If Parker were given to a different family and they couldn’t handle it all – the reflux, the colic, the allergy, the crying – God knows what would happen and how someone else might handle it. But God didn’t do that. He gave him to US. Because we can handle it,” I said.
At that, my husband began openly crying and reached across the table to take my hands.
We held hands at a restaurant table for the first time in years.