Wednesday, February 24, 2010

At your service . . .

I bet you know people who would "give you the shirt off their backs," right?

Me, too. Except for I mean it literally. My husband did it for me the other day.

I have had three pregnancy-related meltdowns. Not bad for eight months. The first was when I slipped on a toy my kid left out and it scared the stuffing out of me. I had a PTSD flashback to the weekend before when I tripped on the way into a stadium and scraped up my knee pretty good. Or bad, as the case may be. But I had this horrible fear I would fall on the baby. I didn't, (hence the jacked up knee) but it was nasty flashback when I skidded across the living room floor a few days later.

The second was when one of my hospital tests was taking too long and I freaked out because I was afraid of making my visiting teacher late to pick up her daughter from school. (It turned out fine. She met me at her door with a mug of hot chocolate and a dismissive wave. "Quit worrying.")

The last one was this past Friday and it all went down due to a severe lack of sleep. I had gotten only four hours the night before and it was rough day. I vegged all morning until I felt like I could function. I tapped all my reserves to get through Cubs that afternoon (and yes, I'm a total rock star for even showing up while freakishly pregnant).

It was all gone, those reserves, when I got home. My boys weren't bad at all, just a little rambunctious. But there was something inside of me just waiting to break loose and I knew if it did, I'd start crying and somehow never stop. I felt my hold on my temper and sanity snapping thread by thread. It was this cartoonish sounding "sproing!" with each little fiber that popped.

Finally, in the interests of all our safety, I said to my ten-year-old, "Watch SpongeBob until your eyeballs fall out. Give your brother whatever he wants and for the love of all that is holy, if he cries, feed him chocolate."

Then I went upstairs to my bedroom and for the first time in the history of EVER, I barricaded it with a chair underneath the doorknob because my two-year-old can pop the lock. Then I watched Veronica Mars for an hour until my husband came home and jiggled the door handle.

"Honey?" he called. It must be said he sounded nervous.

I dragged myself off the bed and moved the chair, then crawled back into my pillows.

"Are you okay?" he asked from a safe distance.

I shook my head. I still had that watery sensation somewhere in my frontal lobe, dammed and waiting to flood out in a hysterical torrent. "I can't cope right now."

The nice thing about not melting down on a regular basis is that such a statement from me carries A LOT of weight. It's like a Def Con 5 warning even when said in a perfectly even tone of voice. Especially when said in a perfectly even tone of voice. 

"Okay," he said. And that was all. He changed into his hang out clothes and closed the door behind him. I stayed where I was through another two discs of Veronica Mars and only came out for a moment to say goodnight to Grant when Kenny put him to bed.

Then I went back to our room and proved that I was making some progress in my mood by taking the arm chair instead of crawling back into bed.

A minute later, he slipped in. "Feeling better?"

"Yes," I said. "I just felt like I was going to cry and never stop. I stayed up here so I wouldn't start."

Bless his heart, he nodded like this made sense.

I knew it didn't, so I explained. "It's just that stupid shirt." I pointed at the blue t-shirt now lying crumpled on top of the laundry basket next to a bottle of Spray-n-Wash. "I don't have any shirts that fit any more so I bought two yesterday for ten dollars each and I wore that one for an hour and it already got a stain on the front so then I had to wear this stupid shirt--" I pointed to a so-called maternity shirt that was almost four inches short of doing it's job "--and it made me mad."

And then I burst into tears.

Not cute, understandable pregnant lady tears.

Huge, gulping sobs. What Oprah calls the "ugly cry." I am not a pretty cryer. I look like I have hives the second I tear up. I sobbed, and I bawled, and I wailed. Kenny just sat on the floor by me and rubbed my leg. I recovered enough to say, "I hate not having any shirts that fit," and then that set off more wailing and gnashing of teeth.

He was very sad for me so he did the only thing he knew how. He said, "Here, take mine. I've barely worn it tonight and it will definitely fit you. It smells like me, but not in a bad way."

So I took it because I wanted him to feel like he was helping, not because I thought it would actually help. And while I was struggling out of my stupid maternity shirt and into his t-shirt he slipped out again. I sat down.

And I sniffled.

And I realized . . .

Him giving me the shirt off his back really did help. And so did the bowl of ice cream he had when he returned.

And that's why I love him.

He's not eager to please. He's just happy to serve. Me, or anyone.

But especially me.

Did I mention I love him? 


LisAway said...

What a fantastic story. I was feeling your pain, even before I knew that it was the stupid shirts' fault. See. Women get it. SO glad your husband does, too. Hang in there! Soon you'll be all the way Melanie again. (not that you aren't now but there's no denying that you feel more like yourself a month or two post partum.) Also, waiting for those recipes!

Happy Mom said...

....contented sigh

Husbands are the BEST!

Carolyn V. said...

That is so sweet! How very wise of your husband. =)

MommyJ said...

I loved this. :) Awesome husbands are, well, awesome.

Susan said...

Awww. I love sweet husband stories. It's especially good that he's already figured out that sometimes you just can't figure women out. Especially pregnant women. My husband usually looks at me like I've lost my mind. I can laugh about it now, cause I'm done having kids! I know I should stop saying that to pregnant women--especially really pregnant women. But I feel safe since you're on the opposite coast. You can't throw anything at me from there.

I bet you look awfully cute in his shirt. :-)

becca said...

Here's the blessing of a great Husband (the kind who offers something that *may* fix it, but without the feeling of "hey, I'm gong to fix it.")

And "it smells like me, but not in a bad way"? Love.

Kelly O. said...

Huge cheers for Kenny! He was so perfect. That is what GOOD husbands are suppossed to be like. I am glad you and I both have one.

Wonder Woman said...

I have about 2 shirts that fit. And one has a small hole in the front -- I always have to wear a scarf with that shirt.

Your meltdowns reminded me of the big one I had this time. And it was in a similar circumstance -- I was walking in tractionless boots and hit a patch of water. I slipped and slided and was so paranoid about landing on my belly that I crashed into the TV. I was already worked up about something, and that just sent me over the edge. I went to the bedroom, shed a few tears, and took a nap.

We are SO CLOSE. Hang in there, Mel. (Does anyone call you Mel?)

Valerie said...

You have such a sweet husband! I have moments like that, so I can relate. And I'm not pregnant. That's extra scary. One of the hardest things to deal with in pregnancy is feeling like a barge and having your tummy exposed in a too-small shirt. I feel your pain. Not literally, though, 'cause I'm not facing labor. But I can empathize!

Kristina P. said...

This was so sweet!

I have to admit, Adam is extremely loving and serving. I sometimes don't appreciate him enough.

Kazzy said...

If I didn't know better I would swear I was pregnant, the way I cried abit during your story. Had to stop at the laundry basket part to wipe my eyes. True.

Good for you for your honesty and understanding of yourself, and good for your husband for his act of chivalry. What a catch you have there.

And I cried in front of my kids the other day because I was so frustrated with school budget cuts and my job staying a half-time position next year. They asked if I was ok and I kept up the sadness and explained everything to them. They are older than yours, so it wasn't too traumatizing. I hope.

L.T. Elliot said...

Okay, I'm not even preggers and that story made me cry a little. What a good man you've got, Melanie.

DeNae said...

This is a fantastic story. I mean really fabulous. Maybe it's because I've got writing on the brain, but you need to work this story up into an essay and send it to some contest or something.

And my husband would have done the same thing, right down to the ice cream. Love those guys!

Anonymous said...

Aww, your husband is so sweet. And the ice cream never hurts.

Once when I was pregnant I finally crawled into bed with a book and a big glass of milk after a long, long day of work and swollen ankles and doctors appointments, reached up to turn on the light... And the lightbulb went out.

My husband came to bed more than an hour later and I was still sitting there in the dark crying. He was flabbergasted as to why I didn't just walk down the hall to the linen closet and get a new lightbulb. Or turn on the light on his side of the bed and read over there. His rationality did not go over well with me.

Dedee said...

I'm emotionally weird enough right now that I just about cried at that story.

I need sleep.

And yay for shirts that smell (in a good way) like our husbands.

Amber said...

Ohh. Sigh. I understand. Your husband sounds like an awesome guy.

P.S. I have an award waiting for you. Hope you like it! : )

Lara said...

Your story made me cry.

In a good way.

A good husband is definitely good to have. And I'm so happy you have one.

Kimberly said...

Sometimes now, when I have that can't cope feeling, Neil can see it on my face.

I love how somehow, they find a way to make everything okay again. Glad you're a lucky member of the good husband club. =)

Amber Lynae said...

Okay there is something wrong with me... my eyes were getting leaky when you told of him giving you his shirt and then bringing you ice cream.

He is a wise man.

TheOneTrueSue said...

What a sweetheart, and what a lovely post.

Pregnancy emotions are the worst. Hope you are feeling better.

Karen said...

What a sweet and wonderful husband you have!

I need to order me one of those. I wonder if there's somewhere on the internet that does that...