Today marks 2009 as the historic year when all four Nunnery’s spent time in the operating room. Six visits to the operating room divided by the four of us. In other news, fuck 2009. This year has sucked big time. It’s 4:50am and I’m listening to Lily and Ava take turns coughing like 80 year old emphysema patients while watching the clock tick closer to 6am, when I have to report for surgery. Fun stuff. It’s fucking pouring out too. I just took a little break to go to the grocery store and get the kids some medicine. Maybe this will be one of those weekends when we’re all bed ridden.
I’m a little nervous, which is why I’m awake right now. And actually, I didn’t get nervous about anything to do with me until Rhonda told me I was probably going to have a catheter. Fuck that. I don’t think it’s true, because no one at the hospital said anything about it. Then again, I didn’t pay much attention because I didn’t want too many things getting into my head and causing me anxiety. I can’t sleep when that happens. See?
(hours later, post-surgery)
All I can think about are Rhonda and the kids. I woke up in the operating room hearing Ava calling for mommy but I couldn’t move, couldn’t get up and help her. But as the fog lifted, I realized that it wasn’t Bird. It was a girl two beds down also recovering from some sort of surgery, calling for her mom. Just the same, something about coming out of my coma that way catapulted me into several hours of drug-fueled anxiety about my family. Tears followed, along with a kaleidoscope of passing images, some future and some past that aren’t ever coming back.
My wife. This has been the toughest of our five married years. We’ve lost babies, had major traumas with both our kids and selves, have had to balance life in a way that plots us further away from each other on a regular basis…it’s been hard, to say the least. And though we both intellectually know the emotional tax that’s been levied on us, it’s incredibly hard to rise above it all when the day gets particularly thick. There is no question that two high level professions are imposing on the fundamentals of us having a healthy marriage; at least they are for the type of relationship that we want. When I met Rhonda I knew she had a tough exterior but I also saw several cracks and fissures in that shell where bright lights chiseled through at inadvertent times…she was funny, warm and she wanted to be connected. I took it as a personal challenge to get inside that woman’s head and see if inside it was what I imagined. What I knew after meeting her I still know today; there was/is nobody out there that’s better than my wife. I married the perfect person for me. The year has hit her hard. Even though she’s and has a strong resolve, she’s had to be tough far too often lately – when our kids are injured…when her husband is away…when she sees 60 pregnant women a day and has to remember that we’re struggling with having a third baby…and it might not happen. I can see depression seeping in and I’m worried about her.
Anyone who knows me has heard me push back on the concept of luck. It just doesn’t apply as often as people assign it value. For example, I don’t feel lucky about having a good job; I see it as the summary result of me getting an education then spending my 20’s learning some valuable skills. I wouldn’t credit luck with me having two smart, well-behaved and hysterical kids either; I would say that is the summary result of us waiting to have kids until we were educated and employed, thereby having both informed perspective on healthy parenting as well as the resources to not let the day-to-day grind of paying the bills ever eclipse our ability to be available to our kids. We can pretty much do whatever we want and that type of flexibility makes all the difference in the world on your parental outlook. And I would say that I don’t feel lucky about finding a good wife; I would say that it is the summary result of me dating other people, being vulnerable and not afraid to take risks, being honest about my strengths and weaknesses and making a concerted effort to reach inside myself and do maintenance on my character so that I am equipped to find the kind of mate and relationship I want.
That’s what I would say. And today, I am going to call bullshit on myself. I am the luckiest person in the world to have Rhonda, and our kids, and my job, my extended family and my friends. You know why? Because some people don’t. The hospital called me last night and asked who would be bringing me to the hospital in the morning. Duh, my wife. Then I thought…what if I didn’t have anyone? So I asked. A taxi would be dispatched by the hospital. God how would it feel to make that dark, rainy ride alone in the back of a cab? What a lonely thought.
We’ve experienced the ‘Because God wants it that way’ bitchslap five times this year. On five different occasions there have been life changing circumstances that no linear decision making of ours could have prevented. I hate to say I’ve learned anything this year, at least anything so fundamental, but the truth is that having so much occur that we didn’t bring on ourselves has seared into me a new motivation for taking inventory of what I have and appreciating what it is and what it isn’t.
I know I can be a better husband to Rhonda. I can be a better dad. I can be a better professional. I think today has been an abridged version of looking into the white light.