Several years ago when I was very ill, he took on the role of primary caretaker the instant he walked into the door after work. Some stay-at-home moms make it look easy. I was not that person. I may have appeared clean and put together on the outside, but I was a constant suicidal wreck behind closed doors. I was a dance teacher at the time, and my work day - or should I say, my second job - began in the evening when the rest of the professional world was sitting back in their favorite chair with their feet up. After I had spent the entire day caring for our young daughters, I'd drive to downtown Seattle and spend hours in a ballroom in a pair of suede-bottom heels on my sore feet before heading home sometime around midnight.
When I made the decision to focus on being healthy rather than continue to believe the cocktail of drugs and bizarre Freudian-based therapist I was seeing were going to clear the haze away from my view of reality, it became apparent that James was carrying far more than his fair share of the household and child-related responsibilities. He didn't complain, though. He never told me I was a bad parent or wife, and he continued to love me even though I was broken.
During my recovery, we were able to shift our responsibilities to the healthy balance that we have adopted. When he is away, I'm able to handle the duties of work and kids and life on my own without feeling too frazzled, but nothing fills the empty gap of his warm physical presence ready to give me a hug at the end of a long day.
This morning, a photograph popped up on my Facebook feed from five years ago:
|We might be cheesy, but I'm just gonna own it.|
When I see this picture, I am reminded that we were on our way to a company party and that we saw a rock concert that night. It was the first time that I had been in a large crowd of people since going off medication, and I managed to escape the night without having a panic attack.
This morning as I am reminded of that evening five years ago, I find myself missing James but also feeling empowered that I am easily capable of taking care of myself and our two kids for ten days without having a mental breakdown.
Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to having my partner in crime home again. I will have plenty of company and help from my mom (who is flying in to spend some quality time with me and the girls), but it's going to be a very long extended week without my soulmate by my side.