Friday, November 10, 2006

marriage

I don't write alot about my marriage outside of our role as co-parents, and in that respect I'm usually worrying about clashing ideologies. It's easy to avoid examining a marriage because it's an existence that's so easily taken for granted. It's like breathing, eating, sleeping. We have lived as if married for five years although our wedding was two years ago. I'm really instrospective the past few days about our marriage. I've just finished reading The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd and it brought up the issue of taking a marriage for granted. It also deals with an artist wife who feels tamed by her marriage. She falls passionately in love with another man and reconnects with her home and her mother and herself. It's heartbreakingly beautiful. At the time I've been reading this, our situation is a tense, all-but-sexless marriage of struggling new parents with barely enough money to survive. Shane is so stressed about finances he snaps at me, at telemarketers, at the dogs. Little bursts of severe asshole behavior have shot through like bullets that shatter my relative contentment. Meanwhile, we aren't making love because I have no desire for it, and we've barely spent any time together alone between all the part-time jobs it takes to make our household run.

We were out yesterday and Shane spouted some rage about something trivial and it just lodged in my head that he can be such a shit. His temper unsettles me so much. Then I was reading the book, and this cold fear settled into me and I saw myself in several years leaving him. I saw his temper flares just building and frustrating me and then I thought of how different we are and thought how devastating it would be to meet someone I connected with like the heroine of my book. Seeing this possible future made me feel 1,000 miles away from my husband. It ripped me open to be feeling our marriage as a thing that could be broken someday, a vulnerable entity that either one of us could tear apart. I have always felt if something did happen to us, it would be my breaking the vows. I sometimes worry that the wildness in me isn't meant to be married. I fret about not making art anymore. I wonder if I've lost anything to this union.

I examine those thoughts and I think that it's normal for me to wonder about those things. The truth is, I am a much better version of all possible me's because of Shane. The thing I've lost, the drive to create, it is a sleeping thing like a fire I've let dwindle, and neither my wifeness nor my husband has anything to do with that. I've struggled with that all my life. Shane has been my best advocate for channeling my energies into art. But I was reading my book, all these doubts worrying around in my head. I realized they were going to fester and grow into some resentment or anger if they weren't voiced. I went to him and it took me a long time to frame the vague ideas into a conversation, but he listened patiently and we talked about the stresses and the shape of our life and our lives. We were actually feeling similar anxieties but expressing them differently I think. I felt waves of relief giving vent to my doubts about us, and the relief washed them away as I realized how amazing it is I can talk with him about this, how strong we are. I needed to mend the disconnected feeling I'd had, and he held me close. Then the comfort turned to a fierce need to physically connect and we made love very beautifully. It was a wonderful, necessary ritual binding us tighter and the mood of the house is much lighter and cleaner now.

In unrelated news, there was another trip to the pediatrician's office today. I'd been waiting it out- just a cold, but her cough was getting worse and I didn't want to wait the weekend out with her feeling increasingly bad. The nurse said she had an ear infection too, but I hadn't seen any signs of it. I was loathe to put her back on antibiotics again since she's still on poopalot mode from the last one.

I brought her home and talked it over with Shane, and we decided ear infections are serious enough that we didn't feel like it was overreacting to use the antibiotics so we went to the pharmacy for them and to get some decongestant the nurse recommmended. It had pseudoephidrine in it, and they no longer carry anything with that at our pharmacy. The pharmacist was great, though. She went through all the possibilities with us and told us how the substitute for pseudoephidrine hasn't been tested in kids under 2. She was very knowledgeable. We bought some cough medicine & decided to stick with breastmilk dribbled into her nose and the nasal suction bulb for her nasal congestion.

After we got home, she spewed everywhere, so I gave her a bath and clean comfy pajamas. Then she pooped all over herself, so she got another bath and the last clean pj's, forcing me to wash a load of baby clothes as well as the bedsheets she'd thrown up on. Her cough has been gone since the medicine. Since the visit to the doctor's office I noticed her pulling on her ear, and then she wouldn't nurse with that side of her head lying down, so I had to wrestle her into a football hold. It is not fun to try to get a five month old baby into a new strange nursing position. She was very "whatthefuck?" Tonight may suck as our side-lying, semi-comatose-mommy position won't work if her ear still hurts.

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