Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In Case of Drowning

He whips by the doorway and down the hallway, slim as a minute, big hazel eyes twinkling with some scheme he has devised.  He is followed by a curly, blonde angel in footy pajamas who is carrying a pillow pet larger than herself and her juice cup.  Blankie is tucked safely under one arm, showcasing her premature ability to carry multiple things up the stairs at once, a genetic talent that she has gotten from me.

My husband and I are seated on our bed in the middle of a talk.  The type of talk you have with your partner when one of you is caught in a rip current of life. It is unusual to find myself in the position of proffering the life vest.  I am generally the one struggling to keep my head above water and he the strong, brave lifeguard who scoops me from the sea.  But this evening, I am the one who needs to save him. 

In the past when in this role of person saving drown victim I have done one of two things: 
a.  dive in, confident in my ability to keep us afloat only to end up exhausted and flailing along side of him - in this scenario we both drown in a sea of frustration and misunderstanding.

b.  hurl various floatation devices in the form of "solutions" and watch helplessly as one by one he declines each for reasons that make no sense to me, eventually will resort to scenario (a.) see above.
It hasn't occurred to me that there is a third option until this evening. 
c.  talk the drowning victim through the fear, the result of which is the realization that he knows how to save himself.  
He just needed to remember to relax and allow the current to take you where it will, swim parallel to the shore, knowing that eventually you will reach the sand. 

I am in the thick of option (c.) when when our middle child swings back through, peeking his head into the open doorway and says, "I'm going to go read Avery a book in my closet."  He is armed with two Halloween flashlights and a book that a college graduate would struggle to read.  Thick as thieves these two. 

"Sounds good."  I laugh, and look at my husband, my partner, my love. I think I see him release, let go and start to drift in the waves of stress and anger that surround him about his work.  I think that perhaps I have done it - I have helped save my drowning partner and watch him begin to float back to safety.

I look at the clock and know that this rescue has been a family affair.  Not in that the sense that the children offered advice or acted as sounding boards, but just in the fact that they gave us time.   We have been talking for almost an hour and nobody had popped in to demand juice, or report a grievance about a sibling.  There was no shrieking about missing "puppies" or poopy diapers, just three children playing peacefully.

I know that there will be many times in the future when one or the other is struggling again, in need of rescue.  Right now, however, I take solace in the knowledge that we are a family of five, all on the same team, fighting the good fight each in our own way and for today, that's enough.


  1. I love every post more and more so keep writing. YOU help remind me what is important in life! The last sentence is what life is all about!! thanks friend for being you

  2. THank you - I love you!!! Can't wait to keep following you in your journey too:)