Love In The Time Of Colic

  

Everything changes, every day.

We’re pushing six months into this new adventure, and the most concise way to put is this: It never disappoints.

Our girl grows and learns. She laughs and sits and rolls. She hurts and cries, too. Her mother and I–my wife and I–work to remember that both titles apply, Mom & Dad and Husband & Wife (title case all around). Clinging to that simultaneity is more difficult than I’d ever imagined. Not impossible, just not saw-it-on-TV, wrap-it-up-in-a-bow simple.

We both allow different and sometimes competing anxieties to creep and fester. We fall into alarmingly stereotypical gender roles as we worry and fret. I’m left to marvel at how two people can arrive at such similar levels of joy and stress through such dissimilar routes.

Which is to say this: imagine a Jungian archetype labeled “Newborn Parents” and I guarantee you there’s a photo of Jessica and I under its Wikipedia heading.

Of course the late nights, lack of sleep, and occasional bouts of “why, baby, why” take their toll. But I’m amazed at how nearly rote those become, to the point that a longer night’s sleep, lovely as it may be, signals our girl’s constant development and change, and we’re not sure how to take it.

Everything changes, every day.

That is the worry, that is the stressor making each of us sometimes snap, sometimes snarl, turn to the other in blind bewilderment and incomprehension. To mix up some analogies (which are always the first casualties of too-little sleep), it’s like we’re trying to put a diaper on a 727 while it climbs to its cruising altitude.

Or, if you will, there are no recipes to making this work, just guidebooks (again, analogies ain’t easy…).

Jessica and I have always reveled in the quiet, the small gesture, the stolen glance and silent laugh. Now, as the roar and din of life with a baby–stress about work, about time, about money, about the never-ending “her” of it all–our revels are gone, replaced with a solace that trends toward therapy, then into the glue that keeps our cleaved halves whole.

The other night, girl asleep, lights out, heads on pillows hoping for three, maybe four (dare-I-ask-for-more?) hours of sleep, Jessica placed her hand, warm and soft, into the middle of my back. The quietest gesture in a moment of rare silence we both desperately needed.

It felt like love, like loyalty, like a thank you and an apology and a you’re forgiven all in one. I take these moments, hidden, stolen, deliberate, to heart.

Everything changes, every day.

That’s reality as our baby changes and grows, as Jessica and I delve deeper into the joys and frustrations of parenting her, and the joys and frustrations embedded in any growing marriage.

Everything changes, every day.

Especially love. And thank God for it, because yesterday’s love simply doesn’t cut it today.

 

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