Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Second to All But Just As Loved

Hubbie's return from Sweden brought home a powerful reminder. Being an adult can suck sometimes, and being an adult means you suck it up.

The kids missed their father. Terribly. It was a hard week on all of us, and the relief in their eyes was palpable. They wanted to occupy the phycial space in which he stood. To breathe in the very essence of him.

I was pushed to the wayside. By both parties. Not out of anything negative, but the sheer power of love those kids have for their father left room for nothing else in the house. He attended to everything they said. Every toy they showed, every shaky picture they had drawn while he was gone.

I sat on the sidelines and watched. I wanted to hug my husband. To hear about his trip. Learn more about his father's health and hug him until all I could breathe was the smell of him. I have read about spouses feeling jealousy but never felt it before. Until that moment. I felt the tiniest of twinges. Pangs of jealousy over the squeals of delight my daughter made as she opened the packages he had brought. My stomach and heart hurt just a bit that I wasn't the one to snuggle up on the sofa and get the hugs.

Being an adult sucks sometimes, but I firmly believe everything went as it should. It wasn't my time. My kids can't rationalize the time their father was gone. They are young and emotional. Part of their world crumbled when he left and was miraculously restored upon his return.

I had Hubbie all to myself in college. We were each other's center in the years before kids. To everything there is a season, to quote that lovely cliche. The current season is the kids. My hugs can hold off until the kids are satisfied. They have to. It's my job as a mom. Sometimes I hate it, sometimes it makes me sad. No one likes to come in second all the time. But as long as we all have our moments, it all balances out. There will come a time when they do not need me or their father with the raw intensity that they do at this moment. I am all at once the center of their universe and the background noise to their daily routine. Parenthood is a strange dichotomy.


A Free Man said...

I think we're starting to get here too. Even with just one around, Sinead and I don't have enough time for each other. We're not a couple anymore, we're a family. Most of the time, that's cool. But every now and again...

Kat said...

Well said. Have missed reading you.

baronessvonb said...

The mama's boy phenomenon used to drive my husband mad with jealousy.
"When do I become the 'go-to' person", he would complain.

If it's any comfort, the flipflop cycle keeps repeating itself. When the boys were little, they were total cling-ons to me, and now that they're teens/young adults, they often defer to their dad about "important stuff".

But they still look to me to give them loving hugs, make their favorite food, and just generally be there in case. I'm ok with that.

Joe said...

It drives Sarah crazy that Tyler is so happy to see me after work, but he doesn't show her the same excitement. I've explained to her that he sees her ALL DAY, and that he only sees me in the evenings. Sometimes, even she has trouble rationalizing that.

And it makes me sad when I'm loving up on the boy and he's squirming and reaching for his momma.

RiverPoet said...

You know, I used to feel that way sometimes when "Pete" would come home from a deployment. He was sometimes gone for 6 months, but Mama had to wait. The kids came first. It was quite difficult, but I loved watching how much they loved up Daddy when he came home. I don't regret one minute...not of any of it...and you know what I'm talking about.

Peace - D

Gypsy said...

This was lovely. :)