How to Share Love 3 Ways.

Via on Sep 12, 2013

family

I look over at you, my husband.

You lie in pink princess sheets, having crawled in bed with our daughter to help her get back to sleep after she suddenly awoke.

I feel an unexpected and intense pang of loneliness, remembering the “us” that existed once upon a time.

And while I wouldn’t change our tiny family for anything in the world, I can’t help but contemplate this new relationship—one in which I have to share my husband with our little girl.

My eyes scan the blue-grey light of her room where you both rest.

I can’t help but appreciate your strong back as you lie on your side cradling our child.

My gaze lovingly caresses your broad back; noticing how every line of muscle displays your strength.

You are not asleep.

I see your head move, up off of your Cinderella pillow, and my eyes dart over to her—her eyes now softly re-closed, her lips completely relaxed—and I can tell that, as usual, you’ve quickly and easily gotten her back into her dreams.

You pull the covers a little bit higher around your strong, broad back and your hand suddenly lifts to scratch your thick, curly hair and then returns to rest gently across her small, bubblegum pink-swathed chest.

When I was a girl, my own mother always told me that a person’s character is written onto his hands.

The first thing that I noticed about you when we met were your hands.

You were just a boy, but I can still remember thinking that your wide palms looked both capable and steady—ready for whatever life would throw into them.

Somehow when I—virtually a child myself—saw these hands, I was innately and immediately aware that they gave away a secret—that you, like a puppy, were not yet grown into your full self.

Even then your fingers were already large yet strangely delicate—letting me know that you were that rare and coveted blend of athlete, artist and thinker (another initial piece of private knowledge that has never let me down).

And then I’m back in our house, with you in the pink princess sheets, and I watch as you shift onto your broad, strong back, seemingly wide awake. (I can see your eyes blink open and closed a few times in the dark.)

She wakes too and you pull her close, into the crook of your shoulder where my head has always fit perfectly, nestled and protected and loved.

What are you thinking about? What’s keeping you awake? I wonder. Me? I can’t help but girlishly, childishly, selfishly hope.

Then I see her eyes also blink open and closed in the dark, and you reach over to stroke her tender, pink cheek with your capable hands.

I reflect on the many times that those very hands have held me, keeping me close, helping me cross through so many of my own life’s obstacles safely, and I’m both relieved and glad that she has these same hands to hold—even as I realize that this means they are less available for me, your first baby.

I feel a slow, quiet tear trickle down my own tender, pink cheek.

No matter how hard I try, I’m always still part-needy child mixed in with grown woman-mother.

I curl into a tight ball, facing your sleeping images—I’ve been watching you on her video monitor, you see and I finally click it off—and close my eyes, grateful.

And I am truly grateful, more than anything, for a man who is strong and capable—strong enough, as it turns out, to hold two ladies in his broad and steady heart.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo: via Pinterest

About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She's also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people that ever lived and she's also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor's degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer then make sure to check out her writing, as she's finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer's first book, The Best Day of Your Life, is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and on her website.

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13 Responses to “How to Share Love 3 Ways.”

  1. Jane says:

    What a lovely and moving picture of a real man and real dad. Maybe we should think about using this to let a man know what a woman really wants.

  2. rashmidevi says:

    Beautiful!! <3

  3. Ashramgirl says:

    When I was married and we had our baby, we were a family. But when our marriage ended, I explained to my son we were now 2 families: me and him, and his father and him. My son and I are not a couple – we are a family.

    Families come in all sizes and , let us honour them all.

    • Absolutely, but this particular article was inspired by my recent contemplation on mothers who are competitive with and/or jealous of their daughters, and written from the perspective of a new mom learning to love and share her partner as a devoted father. Rather than look at this piece as exclusionary of some familial structures, I think it's more reasonable and desirable to look at it from the vantage point that we are all someone's son or daughter (which is how I meant it).

      • Ashramgirl says:

        You know what? It's the photo/title ~ it's so exclusionary that it diverts from your point as you explain. I find it as hurtful as if the statement was only heterosexual families are "real" families. Your lovely contemplation does not merit the title "Two's a couple, Three's a family" – it is exclusionary and as you explain yourself, was not your focus.

        • elephantjournal says:

          I chose the photo and title, Ashramgirl, as editor of this piece. What is it that is so exclusionary for you? I don't understand how you feel that we are even suggesting that only hetetrosexual families are "real" families. Certainly, that isn't the case and we know that. If I wanted to dive deeper and make myself feel more alienated, certainly I could make the same argument about kids vs pets—is my family less of one because I don't have a kid but instead a dog? ~ Bryoni

          • Ashramgirl says:

            Why is it exclusionary? Because the photo/title defines a "family" is comprised of a couple and a child.
            I did not say you suggest only heterosexual families are "real" families. ~ I said the message is the same in that it implies "Oh, you aren't a real family because…"
            I take a stand for inclusion, sensitivity and respect.
            The other Guest below noted the photo is offensive to anyone who is single or without children.
            My son has 2 loving parents. But (according to the photo) I guess he doesn't have a family.
            Sensitive yes. In my experience, your family are the people who love and support you.
            Thank-you for allowing me to express my feelings and for taking the time to ponder why I would say what I felt I must say.

          • elephantjournal says:

            I understand what you are saying and thank you for expressing your truth. This is the author's story and so the image was meant to represent her words and her experience of family, in this particular piece—which is different from yours, which is different from mine. I'm sorry that my choice in photo has made you feel this way. Family comes in all shapes and sizes and most of the time, I agree, it's the people that love and support you. ~ Bryonie

          • Bryonie, thank you for your communication. Ashramgirl, while I understand you're concern, I have to say that from my point of view, this article was obviously a heart-felt piece of love from a mother, and I have a hard time understanding your on-going focus and attention on the picture that simply accompanied these words.

  4. Guest says:

    Is the photo meant to be ironic? It is offensive to any one who is single or without children.

  5. Ashramgirl says:

    When I was married and we had our baby, we were a family. But when our marriage ended, I explained to my son we were now 2 families: me and him, and his father and him. My son and I are not a couple – we are a family.

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