Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Considering the other Gender

In Tell Me Who I Am Ken Craig writes about miscarriage, and states "For how common they are, rarely are they discussed." And he's right. Of course, Ken Craig points out that that's because of how personal the experience is, and I respect that. I know my mom had three miscarriages and four of my sisters had at least one, but it's not something we discuss too much. I only know a little about what my mom and sisters experienced. What I've never considered though, is how my father and my brother-in-laws felt about the miscarriages.

Ken Craig tells a his side of what we usually think of as a "woman's experience." Of course, there's no cutting the women out of the experience of miscarriage, but surely we should consider the men that are involved and heartbroken along with their wives.

With Ken Graig's inspiration, I decided to write my husband's side of juggling student and parent life. (And since, I'm not actually him, I'm pretending. Humor me.)

I come home from work and the house is worse than when I left, and I feel a pang of guilt because I left it BAD. I hear an irritating snap as I step on one of Lydia's crayons. The exhaustion from a six o'clock and a ten hour day of work flames into annoyance. Will she ever learn to pick these up? But I'm distracted immediately by, "DAAAAAAAADY! Daddy home. Work all done!" Oh that grin. It melts the annoyance right out of my heart. Her face is covered with jam, her fairy wings are on upside, and she's wearing ten necklaces. I scoop her up in my arms, and we start to wrestle. She screams and laughs and jumps on me. Valerie comes out the bedroom where she's been putting Lincoln down. She give me a hello kiss in between the zurberts I'm giving Lydia, but it's a distracted kiss, and her "Hello, welcome home," is distracted too. She turns right to her textbook. I feel a bite of dissapointment, and I untangle myself from Lydia. My exhaustion is coming back. Valerie closes her book. She says she had to finish that page while Lydia was busy.

Valerie pulls dinner out of the oven. Her eyes have dark circles, and I feel guilty for wishing I could sit back and watch the game tonight. I'm tired, I think. I have a test tomorrow. I don't think Valerie remembers I have a test. But I shake these thoughts away and make a salad and cut up fruit.

Dinner is always our special time. Lydia babbles to herself and only spills once. Valerie asks me about my day, and seems to perk up a little. I tell her about the problems at work, and she's sad with me. I tell her about my manager's bonus, and she congratulations me. Dinner is our best time.

I offer to put Lydia to bed because I know Valerie needs to sit, to get off her feet. Reading scripture stories with Lyd takes forever. She wants to point out and celebrate over every Jesus picture. And we sing Book of Mormon stories four times at her request. When it comes to teeth brushing time, Valerie hears the screams and comes to help. I hold her down and Valerie brushes. I feel a little like a monster. I'm getting impatient by the time it's pray time. Lydia will fold her arms, but she insists on walking around in a circle. And she insists on blessing all the snowmen. But then she gives me kisses and says "good night!" without a fight. I don't want to live her side. She's such an angel.

Finally, Valerie and I sit on the couch together, working on homework. But my frain is bried. I mean my brain is fried. I keep looking on Facebook. My mind is numb. I ask Valerie, "What do you need tonight?"
"I can't concentrate. Do you want to watch a movie? We could both use a break." I remember the test I need to study for, and the homework Valerie has to do. But we are tired, and I just want to snuggle on the couch and do nothing. So we do.

Valerie falls asleep, and I sit there with her long after the movie has ended. Toys are still on the floor, and we didn't wash all the dishes from dinner. But it's our little home. I worked ten hours today for this little home. I help it come to be. I think about pulling out my textbook and studying, but I don't want to break the stillness of the moment. I don't want to disentangle myself from Valerie. I stay put and smile at our little home.

I guess I'm getting up early tomorrow.


  1. I think you do a great job guessing what your husband is thinking--it all sounds very believable. And your family sounds adorable! I think most of us, including myself, can relate to the gotta-get-stuff-done-but-I-need-to-unwind problem. Really, the whole essay was relatable, so good job!

  2. Valerie, I can't even express how much I love receiving these little glimpses into your life. It was interesting to hear this circumstance from a male perspective. Even more interesting is that you wrote it. I think that shows that we as men and women understand each other more than we often give ourselves credit for. I also felt a certain reflection in my husbands and my relationship. Great job!