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.It hasn't occurred to me that there is a third option until this evening.
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.
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.