I feel as though I owe you, my readers, a report about my husband's visit. I'm not sure why I feel that way, but somehow I do.
It was wonderful.
It was a time like nothing that we've ever had before and I doubt we'll have anything like it again: a whole week with nothing to do except hang out and enjoy each other's company. The children were in school during the day (except one day when we took them out and went hiking - I posted some photos here), but we had time with them in the afternoons and evenings and on the weekend. When we were with the kids, I felt as though I could breathe and relax: someone was sharing the job of parenting with me. What a privilege. I thought often of those from whom the earthquake took a spouse, for whom those moments of sharing parenting with the person who made the babies with them will never come again. From now on, I won't take that for granted. It was wonderful, too, to see how happy the children were to have their dad here.
The week felt holy - holy in the sense of set apart, outside of common everyday life, and also holy in the sense of sacred, numinous. It felt like the most amazing, generous gift of God.
It was like our honeymoon - except that we know each other so much better now. It was like the early weeks of our babies' lives - except that, unlike then, we weren't sleep-deprived and we didn't have tiny people to take care of. But it was like those times in the sense of closeness we felt to each other, and in the intensity of our focus on what matters in life.
There were sad moments, too. That's how it is in our lives now. Every joy is tinged with pain, with remembering those who died, and the difficult times that everyone has gone through. When my husband first arrived, I couldn't stop crying for several hours. My son asked me why I was crying when I was supposed to be happy. I told him that sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. But somehow that sadness dissolved into hilarity and laughter, times with family and friends, moments of relishing everyone and everything that God has given us. The boundaries between happy and sad are more fluid now.
A friend told me today that I am very fortunate in my relationship with my husband. I responded that I know I am. I know it now more than ever. What I don't know is why I am so blessed: why I married someone who turned out to be exactly as wonderful as he seemed before the wedding, why we have fulfilling work and healthy children, why we survived an earthquake in which so many died. Why me? Why us?
So as we said goodbye, and as I cried (crying: it's what I do), I was filled with gratitude. We grieve, yes, but we are blessed beyond description. And the greatest blessing is that we know now (rather than years from now, in retrospect) how blessed we are. And even in the face of all the uncertainties ahead, for our family and for Haiti, we will have the memory of our week together.
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