The Gift of Together
Some of you may remember that I have a favorite word.
I love the word together! I believe that so MANY people who get to experience together take it for granted. In fact, I suspect many even begin to resent together.
Not me. I had it. I lost it. I love it!
But in that together there is a new twist . . . it is the concept of need.
We are in the middle of a bit of a crisis at my house. Last Friday my baby girl, Abbi, came home from school about 10:30 in the morning and flew into my house bawling. Her chest hurt. She felt like she couldn’t breathe and like something was sitting on her chest. I called her cardiologist, loaded her in my car, and took off for the ER.
On my way I called Bryan to tell him . . . I knew he had meetings throughout the day and when he asked if I wanted him to come I told him, “No, Babe, you take care of what you need to. I’ve done this alone for a long time . . . I don’t need you. Take care of all your meetings and come up when you can.”
Thirty minutes later, in he walked. He had cleared his calendar and was there to be with us. He was there to be . . . together.
He spent the entire weekend tag teaming it with me. He stayed with my boys at night, made sure they got where they needed to during the day and made sure they were fed . . . and then spent the rest of the time up here at the hospital with Abbi and me. He’d bring me dinner, sit with her so I could go home and get a shower, and just be. By Sunday Abbi was really going downhill and on Sunday night we had reached true crisis mode.
I do need to add that B had been out of town all week on business. He got home late Thursday night and we had gotten to snuggle on my couch with my mom sitting there with us. We had looked forward to a wonderful dinner out and movie on Friday night. We couldn’t wait to just have some time together. We had had a stressful situation happen right before he left on business and we hadn’t had time to really clean all that up – it wasn’t conflict but it was something we really needed time to talk through and pray about.
Anyhow . . . we now were just trying to keep our head above water with Ab and the boys and there was certainly no time to chat. We did manage to sit at the end of the hall on the Observation unit Saturday night and chat a bit while he watched me eat and Marni sat with Abbi in her room. That was nice.
We figured that, for sure, Ab would turn a corner on Sunday and maybe Sunday night I could break free for a bit of a MUCH needed break from the hospital and a nice snuggle with my boyfriend. Then, Abs crashed . . . her pain got so out of hand that her oxygen dropped, she was put on oxygen and hooked back up to all the heart monitors that had been removed earlier in the day. We sat here watching Ab in agony and without answers as to why her head hurt so bad and B snuggled me in and said, “Babe, we can’t leave her . . . I’ll go get you some dinner and we’ll just stay with her.”
What I haven’t mentioned is that we knew B was to be out of town on business again Monday night through Tuesday afternoon . . . home for a bit Tuesday, then gone Wed. through next Monday. We knew Abbi was top priority and that was number one. Time together would once again have to wait.
Something happened that night. As we stood and watched her in agony, when the doctor finally came in B asked a question. He had posed it to me and I told him to just go ahead and he could ask.
It is a different and fine line . . . this thing called ‘step-parenting.’ No, we are not married and no, he is not their stepdad . . . yet! I don’t believe in ‘casual’ dating which means that if I am dating this man it is with intention. And yes! I do intend to marry him. That means that we are beginning to walk this line of him building trust with my kids and me beginning to give him a ‘bit’ of authority. If you read books about this . . . well . . . maybe that is a blog for a different day. Surely I digress.
Anyhow – there we were and B asked a question. Just one. But I stood back and took a breath . . . because someone else, just for a moment, carried the load WITH me. Or maybe FOR me. Just one question shouldered the load long enough for me to take a breath. It was nice.
Monday came and went, B left town, we made it through the day alright and I hoped Tuesday we would turn a corner and begin talk towards heading home. Not. Tuesday about noon Abbi took a huge nosedive and we wound up in the most stressful of crisis situations yet. B had called in the midst of it to tell me he was on his way from Grand Rapids. He had a job waiting for him when he got back to town that needed prompt attention. As things went downhill, I called him and asked if he could come straight to the hospital when he got in town. Of course, he was here as quickly as he could get here and stayed until he and I could meet with the doctor and some decisions could be made. Did you catch that? “He and I!” Wow. There it is . . . together.
Very late that night, when things were settled down a ton and my dear sister-in-law was settled in for the night with Abbi, we did get a very short bit of time together before we both had to get some sleep and he had to leave the next morning for six days.
As I headed back to the hospital the next day, knowing he was gone . . . there was this strange feeling. I’m not sure that even today I can really explain it. I guess it was a knowing that the one who has chosen to walk along side me was out of commission for a while and I didn’t like that.
I also didn’t like that I didn’t like that.
Remember what I told him when we were on our way to the hospital? I didn’t need him. I’ve done this alone for a long time and I’m ok on my own.
Hmm. But now I was alone again and I didn’t like that.
I told B when we knew that his travel schedule with work was picking up that one thing I needed him to understand about me is that I have ‘missed’ a man I love for six years now and that ‘missing’ is a little different for me than for most. I don’t care for it! AT ALL!
But what I was feeling now was different than just missing. What I was noticing was that I had had the pleasure of walking ‘together’ with someone . . . someone who actually came alongside and TOOK some of the load . . . when the load was very heavy on this mama . . . and I liked that. And now he was gone and it was back to being all me . . . and I didn’t like that.
Late that night when B and I got to Facetime we had a nice discussion about it. Within me there is a bit of a struggle. I don’t want to need anyone. In fact, I think I have positioned myself in the last couple of years to NOT need anyone.
Oh sure, I have a wonderful support system. Wonderful! I have needed them a LOT. And, they are always here for me. But I have also stopped calling on them as much. I have become much stronger over the years as a widow. I have learned how to stand on my own two feet. The things that would have sent me to my bed weeping a few short years ago do not any longer.
Ha! There are days I want to weep – but I don’t have time! And, I’ve wept so much that I just don’t want to anymore! I’m so tired of crying. So I chose not to!
I guess part of what I am wrestling with is that maybe it feels week to me . . . to need someone. It also feels vulnerable. If I need him it might hurt more if I lose him.
I needed Chad. It hurt SOOOOOOO much to lose him. Do I really want to go back to that place with B?
So he and I chatted about it. I guess in the end the question I am left with is . . . if I really want to make a life with him . . . and eventually become one with him . . . then our lives will intertwine is such a lovely way that yes, I think I must need him.
Not in a needy, I-can’t-do-it-on-my-own, kind of way. Maybe that will be different than before. I am SO much stronger of a woman than I was before. I’ve had to become that. (That also could pose an issue as I work to submit . . . so I will need to be mindful of that.)
Maybe it is more that I need him because I want him kind of way. Maybe I need him because I realize the gift of sharing life. The gift of together.
I love him. I miss him so much right now. I hate missing! RRGH! I have missed a man so much of my life!
But I also love together with him! It is my favorite. In together we can shoulder this journey with four shoulders instead of two. I guess whether I call that need, or just a gift . . . the loveliness of sharing love . . . is a wonderful thing!