Marc and I have been together for more than 13 years. Our youngest child is coming up on her fifth birthday this month, and it’s safe to say that the honeymoon period is over.
We didn’t really have a honeymoon period though. Marc and I jumped into parenthood almost immediately. He was a parent already, so our decisions as a couple, from the beginning, were done from the perspective of a parent. We would live in Worcester, so that he could be close to his girls. We lost a twin pregnancy thirteen years ago this Passover. The grief and the fear around doing it again, conceiving Jessica and waiting, dreading the worst, and being afraid to hope that this pregnancy would hold – that was our honeymoon period.
And while that doesn’t sound like fun – and believe me, it’s not something I’d like to relive – that was our building block. That was our foundation – we fell in love with each other that way. And that’s still our love language in a lot of ways. There are a ton of things I love about my husband, he’s brilliant and kind, and endlessly, always, the person I most want to be with. But one of the most consistent qualities is that he cleans the vomit.
I mean that in the literal sense (because Sam got car sick the other day after playing minecraft while I was driving), and also in the figurative sense. Marc takes care of the messy stuff. When I’m drowning in family drama, and can’t make sense of it – Marc figures it out. He cleans up all the messy stuff, the yucky misery and sadness – and makes it okay. He came home on the day that Sammy threw up everywhere, and went out to my van and cleaned up the puke. He calls me when I’m frustrated and angry and sad, and makes it okay.
When the kids were little (minor sob because wow – they really aren’t any more), they used to throw up a lot more. Jessie was the queen of nighttime puking, although Sam was certainly not immune to it. They’d have a cold or allergies and when they’d lay down, they’d just cough and cough and eventually throw up all over the place. We co-slept more often than not, so the throwing up was usually in my bed. We split the duties, I always took kid-care, and Marc would launch into clean up mode. I’d soothe the pukey kid, changing into clean clothes and then rocking back to sleep, while Marc would strip the bed, mop up the mess and make my world lovely again. That’s what he does, over and over again. I soothe and coo, comforting and making everyone okay – and Marc cleans up the mess. I couldn’t do my job, I couldn’t be me without him there to play his part.