I love me some Chip. And I love me some Cy. My husband.
I remember about a year ago sitting on a plane traveling from San Francisco to Orange County for an annual girl’s weekend with my mom, and two other moms in my life plus a friend Alex. And I’m sitting next to a woman who looks about my age who strikes up a conversation with me about a book that I was reading. After a bit of dialogue concerning books and other cultural topics of conversation, she asks if I have children. I say no, and she says “You’re so young. There’s plenty of time. Just wait. Because everything, everything changes.”
She said this with such urgency, and her tone didn’t match her demeanor. She seemed so calm and collected, yet when she told me that everything changes with children, I picked up a bit of anxiety, stress, and maybe a bit of sadness. Of course, I barely know this woman, but this conversation replayed in my mind a million times when I was pregnant and began to breed great fear inside me. Would I ever get time to spend with just Cy again? Would I be locked up in my house, stuck in my robe and never shower? Would we ever go out again? What would life be like? I was so worried about these things that I cried and cried to Cy on many a night, and he would just comfort me, promising that we would make time for one another, and that adding a baby was not taking away from our love, but just adding to it.
And this is where we find ourselves. A house full of love. Yes, sometimes I am in my robe perhaps longer than I want to be, but it’s fun and Chip doesn’t seem to care if I have my makeup done or not. And me and Cy? We’ve definitely made sure we have our time. We have worked hard to put Chip on a schedule and he goes down around 7:30 each night, leaving us with 4 hours of time just the two of us.
However, over the past week I sensed a divide. During the days that we have off together, Cy is often trying to find time to do things that he likes to do: music, computer games, exercise, house projects, etc. I don’t mind in the least watching Chip so these things can be done. But then, he will offer the same courtesy to me, and I began feeling unwanted and sad. A divide began forming and the more time we spent together while Chip was around, the more I felt like we were doing things together, but separate. We didn’t talk all that much, but mostly because I was keeping quiet, kind of feeling like I was unwanted. And truthfully, it wasn’t because of anything Cy did. It was all me.
You see, I have the unbelievable blessing of staying home for my job for the majority of the week. And while I wouldn’t trade that time with Chip for anything, I still spend the majority of my hours alone, or without adult contact. And Cy, he’s surrounded by customers and other employees and he spends his day talking and collaborating. Around 6:00 pm we collide, two different days into one same world. And we were missing the mark. After Chip is cuddled, sung to, smiled at, and fed, he is in bed. Dinner has been made, eaten and dishes cleaned. And our night is done. So on days off, Cy needed some time alone. Some time to decompress, without talking, just thinking and working and doing things that he loves. This is what makes him energized. I, on the other hand, need for all of us to be together.
I need us to feel like a family unit. I don’t want more time alone, I’m alone all day. I need us to do something together that reminded me of the old days but collided with the new. I don’t want Chip to just go to sleep at night and us to count down the moments to be alone. And I don’t want us to spend our days off doing things separately, or just carting Chip around forcing him to fit into our schedules. What energizes me is seeing all three of us doing something together, and building memories and bonds as a family. Taking care of one other, and me putting Cy and Chip first while Cy is putting me and Chip first, and us figuring out a new normal.
And all of this came out yesterday in the middle of IKEA, in a stream of words that didn’t make much sense. I’m always choosing the most opportune times to bring up big discussions. Ha. A nursing break alone in the car gave me time to think and put these thoughts into a concise statement. And Cy, God bless him. He jumped into action. But so very subtly that I didn’t feel like it was forced. And it wasn’t. Cy got it. He understood, and was so happy I voiced this, because he felt this way too.
And so we did what any family does when they realize that they have been standing on two opposite sides of a divide. We bridged the gap. With a dance party.
And for one hour of loud dance music, we built a bridge between the divide that had tried to come between us. Music can heal all sorts of illnesses, and build strong bridges. We are a family. A unit. And we are figuring this whole thing out. We stumble around a little bit, but we build bridges and we wouldn’t have it any other way.