A Valentine’s Day Moment

It’s 9:10 pm on Saturday, February 13th. Poe and Alexis have been asleep since we got home at 6:30 pm from a party thrown by some of Alexis’s colleagues. Poe has slept variously on my chest and on the couch next to me. This is, technically speaking, cheating, since Alexis and I have been trying to get Poe accustomed to sleeping on her back in the bassinet as often as possible. But Poe’s had a rough couple of days and got her first round of vaccines this morning, and we’re all pretty tired. So I cheated.

We’ve set Poe’s bedtime at 9:30 pm and done a pretty good job of sticking to it over the last couple weeks. So, I really should be (ironically) waking Poe up to get her to bed — changed, fed, swaddled, sung to, etc. But her sleep’s been so bad for the last several nights that I’m hesitant to wake her from anything. So, I head in to the bedroom, where Alexis is sleeping, to consult with her and figure out a plan. Alexis is dead asleep when I walk in, but immediately wakes up when she hears me and begins getting out of bed to go and comfort Poe. This is how I’ve awoken Alexis innumerable times over the last 9 weeks. I walk in, let Alexis know that it’s her turn with Poe, or that I’m too upset or tense or tired to finish my shift, and every time, Alexis gets up immediately, without complaining, without being negative or distressed in any way. Alexis is significantly more underslept than I am, but she is constantly looking for ways to ease my burden. Simply, lovingly, without complaint.

Anyone who reads this blog or whom I’ve spoken to lately knows that I’ve really struggled at times since Poe’s birth to be a good and present father/partner. I’ve had dark times; I’ve had anger; I’ve considered (impulsively, not seriously) fleeing, abandoning. It’s been difficult. But it would have been impossible if I didn’t have a partner as kind and committed and loving as Alexis. Impossible. Impossible.

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