how we stay together

No one ever told me how much having a baby would make me miss my husband. I ache for him all over, the way things used to be, freely loving and laying about the apartment and talking about silly, little things into the early hours of the morning. I miss him now, more than I ever have, even when he’s sitting right next to me. 

It’s part of the old me that’s hanging around, I think. Clinging white-knuckled to the way things were. She’s the part of me that mostly slipped away when Aspen was born, and what’s lef of her is resisting change, even though for the most part, the change is lovely and sweet.

I miss my husband, and so for a few days in the early weeks of Aspen’s life, I hated him, because he seemed like a foreign, lazy creature that sat about while I vacuumed and bled through my underwear and slung a screaming beastie over my breast for the third time in an hour. I didn’t ask him to help, even though I should have. I expected him to know that I needed him. And when he didn’t, my insides silently soured. 

On the ninth night, he woke up to the sound of me sobbing over a child that I loved too much to put down, and I was too tired to control the words on my tongue, so I told him that I hated him, that I couldn’t stand him, that I felt like a single mother. And then I watched my husband cry for the rest of the night. I was too tired to sort through the words in my head, so we both lay there, quiet and broken and sorry, with a squirming bundle of new life snuggled up between us.

But there was relief, on day thirteen. We ate. We rested. We slept. Aspen found solice in the sound of the rain, and fell asleep soundly by noon. My husband lay down and closed his eyes, and I found the crook of his arm that used to be familiar and made myself a home there. I inhaled slowly, remembered his smell, and knew then that nothing had really changed.

“I’M SORRY FOR WHAT I SAID,” I TOLD HIM, AND HE SAID THAT HE WAS SORRY, TOO.

And for three rainy, afternoon hours, we lay skin to skin, waking every so often to get closer after drifting apart in slumber, always finding each other once more, lacing fingers, tracing constellations of freckle and scar.

They told me that having a child would make me fall more deeply in love with my husband. For the first twelve days, I called them all liars. But on day thirteen, I understood. It’s like falling in love a second time, climbing over mountains and scraping your knees but continuing to climb, tumbling together, deeper and deeper still.