Today was my first day back at work. I’ve been dreading it for the selfish reasons you might expect. My summer’s over, back to the grind, etc. But what has bothered me most is leaving my girls. I’ve actually really enjoyed taking care of Angela. She’s the sort of person that would forget to eat or drink water and just power through if she’s focusing on something. I’ve liked having the job of keeping her hydrated and what not because it’s the only way I can take care of her and subsequently, Rose. But now, I can’t do that.
It was okay while I was in training today because I could check in and she what she was up to and how she was doing. But when I got home she was feeling kind of off, and I saw the telltale sign that something was up. I have mimicked it for a few people, but it’s the warning sign to me that things are about to get worse.
Right now she’s behind me laying on the bed. Her stomach hurts, she feels feverish and nauseous. I’ve got fans on her per her request, but there’s little else I can do. The feeling of powerlessness I’ve felt throughout her pregnancy has felt pretty awful. I want to help, but her pregnancy brain isn’t working well enough to communicate what she needs sometimes. She's finally seeming to rest and stabilize now, but it only makes things feel a little better.
This feels all the more awful because this happened on my first day back! We’ve got another 4+ months of this. All the thoughts spin through my head and I want to yell, I want to cry because there is nothing I can do. I can’t fix it. I’ve asked people for help, and then I reached out to my dad. My dad has had to leave a wife and kids at home while he went to work. And then, as he always does, he replied and God was present in his words.
“She is strong Samuel, and you know it. It makes you feel better to be her protector in all; however, I believe it’s time you entrust her to the One who can care for her like no other. Every day part of your surrender needs to include letting God be her caretaker.”
It’s true, I know it, and it hurts. I have to recognize I am not enough, and it really shouldn’t make me feel bad because I know my God is enough. Through our whole relationship, it’s funny how little improvements I have been able to make intentionally. I’ve said thousands and thousands of words, but it is things said in passing without thought that really make changes. When I try, I often end up obstructing. Marriage has proven to be a humbling, and sometimes humiliating experience. Nothing smarts more than a full face plant after earnestly trying to make things better. Turns out that fatherhood already is extending that lesson.
I think in my first blog post I think I talked about helplessness during the miscarriage stripping away illusions control over things. Now we’re having a little girl, and I am again helpless. I want so badly to hold on tighter, to try to fix things. How can I make sure she drinks water? How can I make sure she eats if I’m not there?
It strikes me that in my nobleness I have been insulting her ability. Like dad said, she’s strong. Angela has blown me away in this pregnancy. I’m sure you might have been like me and prepared for a lot of complaining. It hasn’t been that way at all. She has drawn upon reserves of strength and endurance I didn’t know she had. I have been in awe of her and what she is doing. How can I feel that way, but also treat her like she can’t take care of herself?
To answer the rhetorical question, because I’m human. But even though it might be understandable, now that I’m aware I don’t get a free pass to continue that way. It’s control. I have to surrender any reassurance I have in my ability to take care of her. I’m only stressing myself out and that certainly doesn’t help things with her.
I love Rose, but Angela is and always will be my first love. She is part of my heart, part of my brain, part of my body. I can no longer conceive of an existence separate from her and that makes me want to do whatever it takes. So I … surrender. I let go. Tomorrow, when I get up and say goodbye on my way to work… I will let go. I will do it the next day and the next. She is worth it, and He will take care of her. He loved her first, so I think he can handle it. He brought us together. He called us to marriage. He brought us to the point of trying to have kids. He brought has brought us Rose. This is clearly His, and right now I just need to breath out the tension.
Side note: As soon as Rose is able to understand, I'm going to spend the rest of my life telling her how strong her mom is!
Every once in a while I go back and look at the vow I wrote to Angela. Sometimes I want to see if what I said is still applicable, and each time it feels like they are even more true. This time, as I look back, there are a few lines (bolded) that seems particularly appropriate now...
"I Samuel take you Angela as my darling wife. I name you my queen and acknowledge you above all others. I will proclaim your grace and steadfastness and do my best to overlook your faults just as you do for mine. I will honor you for the richness you bring to my life, for yours is the color and the vibrancy that quickens my heart. You are the answer to the question, Am I meant to be alone? You are the fiery reality that all my longing was pointed towards. You are the dream from which I will never wake. Your voice, your touch, your love are where I find my home.
Angela, I will try to love you in the best and most holy way, to die to myself and surrender ownership of you, for you are not “mine”. You belong to God alone, and it is a measure of his love that he has knit our lives together. Only he knows the way to love you best, and I want nothing less than the best for you. You are his spotless bride, pure and glorious in his sight. An angel, a queen, his most perfect creation. How could I give you anything less than everything I have? My time, my energy, my aspirations, my tomorrow and each day after…all are yours. I will serve you with my mind, body, and any gifts I may possess. You are worth anxious days and sleepless nights. You are worth a lifetime, so I give mine to you. Though affection may falter and anger may fester my love will be fierce and unceasing. I will fight for love even in the dull times, the monotony between sickness and health and rags and riches. I vow a fanatical devotion to our marriage and to its growth. I will do my best to sacrifice my desires and my ego, anything that I must do in a vain attempt to repay God for the gift he has given me in you. In you I see his magnificent love for me, and I only hope you will see the same as I love you."