Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Your husband or your kids?

Is it possible that people read this blog and not Julie's? I doubt it. But just in case, let me reiterate my thoughts on her discussion of the NY Times article (yes, you have to subscribe, but it's free) by Ayelet Waldman regarding her love for her husband over her children.

I am trying to see the light-hearted humor in this, but I think it's mostly profoundly sad. I absolutely adore my husband; I've known and loved him for 20 years. But we both love the kids with this intense protectiveness that we don't impose on each other.

Basically, I love him for being the kind of guy who can stick up for himself, even if I'd feel terrible if he was hurt by someone. I mean, he's a GROWN UP, for God's sake.

Riley, on the other hand, was treatly poorly by the some little boys when we first joined $100/Twenty Point playgroup and I wanted to run them over with the minivan. Seriously, I had to restrain myself. The little fuckers were mean. Guess you had to be there.

Anyway, maybe when they're older it will all even out, but really. I don't want to have sex with my kids, thank God (I used to investigate people like that for a living). My feelings for my husband are just different - not fiercely protective (like with my kids) and all-consuming (like it was when we were in high school). But there's still passion, and sex, and laughter.

Years ago, we had all of this and shared love of food, and cooking, and travel. We thought that those commonalities made us special, and we were thrilled to have each other to share in those joys. Now we have a shared love of our children, which is so much more infinite and intense than haute cuisine and the heat of the Carribean sun. We are consumed by them in a way that we'd never before experienced, and it makes our love for each other that much more exceptional.

Finally, when I think of losing my husband - a terrible terrible thought, unimagineable really - a large part of the horror has to do with taking care of three kids all by myself, and how much THEY would miss him, and how I could keep his memory alive for them.

But to lose a child? Someone once said - in a movie? I don't recall where...but they said that losing a child is so horrible that there isn't even a word to describe it - you're not orphaned - you're not widowed - it is unspeakable. And I just can't imagine someone being so flippant about it, even as terrible a thought of losing my husband would be. I just can't get past it and see the humor in her essay, because, well, I can't imagine saying or feeling such a thing with respect to my kids - even for poetic license.

Now I know this might sound harsh, but all of this shared enthusiasm of life that I have with my husband can be somewhat replaced if I were to lose him. I think he's my soul mate, I really truly do, but if I lost him I would still have friends to travel with and eat out at fancy restaurants. I could date again. I could have sex with another person, or even with my vibrator.

But my kids? You just don't replace that kind of relationship. Each one is unique and each one is mine. They were born mine - I didn't fall in love with them for who they are, because I'd love them even if they were serial killers. In some ways, I love them in spite of who they are, and I always will.

So what do you think? Am I being too sensitive? Have I lost my sense of humor? Do I need to get a babysitter more often?

7 Comments:

Blogger Carolyn said...

No, you're not being overly sensitive. I agree with you. While I love my husband dearly, there's just something about my kids, a love that I can't describe. I don't often look at my husband and well up with emotion, but my kids can do that any day. I don't want to hug him so tight that he becomes a part of me like I do with my kids. Of course, I love him, but it's just something completely different about your kids.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Twizzle said...

Sadly, I agree with you. The husband is replaceable; the children aren't.

12:40 PM  
Blogger A said...

No, no, actually, that was quite beautiful and well put. I hope to feel the same loves -- of a husband and of my children -- one day.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

I think it's sad that she feels the need to "rank" her love that way -- as much as anything else. I think they are just SO different. But as much as I ADORE my husband, my kid (soon to be kids) is different. He is my blood. It's a totally unique relationship. And is likely more powerful.

Jenn

7:41 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Well said. That was my reaction to her essay... she's just a bit too flippant and a little ingrateful for her family. Like you, I've known my husband for 17 years (high school sweeties). I adore him. He's definitely my soul mate and I'm deeply in love with him. I don't envision my life without him any more than my life without my daughter. But my child came from us, we MADE her. For anyone that can joke about losing one or all of her kids, well... I don't get it. Maybe that's her mental illness talking, or her coping with the depression and bipolar disorder. But even if the intention was humor, I wasn't really laughing. I felt pity for her. One thing that Ayelet says is that she's not "in love" with her children. That's too bad. Cuz I am quite smitten with my child. She's such a unique personality. And getting to know her is a joy. Now, Ayelet's kids are teenagers growing up in the hussle and bussle of the Bay Area (and more specifically Berkeley) and maybe they have piercings and body art and purple/green hair, so maybe she's forgotten what it's like to cradle a soft newborn in her arms.

Anyway, just had to chime in here...

2:29 PM  
Blogger Stolidoli said...

Well, I'm glad I'm not alone. Wondering if she's thrown herself into a deep depression with all of the negative feedback she's gotten.

If she types a response will someone tell me?

10:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymom said...

Wow, you really hit the nail on the head. Thanks for articulating what I couldn't.

8:25 PM  

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