overlapping

In ALL, MARRIAGEby Stephanie Klein49 Comments

I’ve never been good at cuddling.   Linus doesn’t count because he just wiggles in there and takes over, whether I like it or not.  I like having my own space in the bed and need to get "situated" before anyone can touch me.  Except when we fight. 

I remember being in Florida, visiting my mother.  Philip and I were fighting.  It was back when I was insanely jealous.  Back when I rummaged through his things, specifically his computer and cell phone, searching for dialed calls and phone camera photos.  He had, what I called, an overlap girl.  That is, there was a point in our relationship when I declared that I was ready to be exclusive, after his giving me the full-court press for months.  And although I was certain, he didn’t believe me.  "What’s to stop you from flaking out on me again?"  He feared I’d change my mind.  I had a sketchy pattern; he was right to be cautious.  "I’m not going to drop my whole life and tell people I won’t see them again, just for you to change your mind."  But then we had sex.  But before we had sex, we had "the sex talk."  The whole, "I don’t have sex with more than one person, so if we’re going to do this, I need to know you’re not doing this with anyone else."  We both agreed.  Then he went away on an all-expense vacation with "overlap girl."  I thought he was at a wedding for a friend.  He was out of the country with her.  We weren’t technically exclusive yet. I had to prove that I wasn’t going to ditch him.  He didn’t have to tell me he’d gone away with her, but he did.  He told me the truth when it would have been easier to lie.  It’s when I knew he was a good egg.  I mean, that’s the character stuff.  I needed someone who’d tell me the shit I so didn’t want to hear.  And i didn’t want to hear it.  I punished him for it.  And I really hate that.  I don’t hate that I punished him.  I hate that we’re supposed to be all understanding and thankful when someone comes clean with us, so they continue to come clean in the future.  Screw that. 

He returned from their trip with a pair of pearls for me.  He missed me the whole time, he said.  Now he wanted to be with just me.  So we were, but I wasn’t over it.  So even though I knew I wanted to be with him, I wasn’t over the fact that he’d gone away with her.  Yes, he chose me, and it really wasn’t ever much of a choice on his part.  He’d always made it clear that he wanted me, but I wasn’t ready.  In Florida, he was off playing tennis with my mother.  I was in the bathroom with his phone, searching through his calendar, noting the dates he’d had filed with her.  He went to work events with her.  I did it to myself, searched for something I knew I didn’t want to find. 

He’d been married before, had other dates, certainly, and none of them bothered me the way she did.  "Why her?"  Because there was overlap.  He chose to still go away with her when I was certain it should be just us.  Rejection, really, despite what he declared.  Despite that he was with me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. 

So I picked fights with him.  Then we made up.  Then we slept in each other’s arms.  In the morning, he thanked me.  "That was so nice, can we sleep like that from now on?"  And I shook my head, yes.  And we continued to sleep, cuddled, until we didn’t. 

"I need to be situated!"  I need space, except when I don’t.  Except when I need.  I found myself napping today, while the babies slept.  Exhausted, and really overwhelmed.  Our families are coming in a week.  We’re searching for a nanny.  Linus is still here, downstairs, but here.  And while no single moment is overwhelming, it’s the anticipation of the next feeding that’s nailed to my mind.  "Oh, God, I have to do this again in 2 hours?"  I breast feed one, which takes thirty minutes.  Then we follow up with a bottle (made of half breast milk and half 22 calorie preemie formula).  I feed the other one, which takes another thirty minutes.  Then Phil follows up with a bottle while I pump for another 15 minutes.  Then Phil washes pump parts and I try to get some sleep.  He does baby laundry, dishes, and cooks my meals.  Still, I couldn’t imagine the whole feeding/changing/shh shh shh process starting again in only an hour or so.  "Don’t worry about it."  I would sleep while he fed, changed, and swaddled them.  He was my absolute savior.  I couldn’t stop telling him how much I loved him.  "Really?  You’ve fed them and everything?" I said when I awoke.  He climbed into bed with me, and I crawled into his arms, overlapping all over him.  I am so so lucky he’s mine. He’s patient and sweet with them and with me.  And he steps up when I need to fall.  He is my best choice.

Comments

  1. Stephanie?? Seriously….how many entries are you going to put into print that make us blogstalkers cry?? Ohh my goodness… *shakes head* You, are so full of love for Phil, and it's absolutely a story that needs to be written for eternity. Beautiful.

  2. I love all the love talk. I wish you could write my upcoming wedding vows for me because you make it all sound so poetic. I try but you can't fake flow. Have fun with the babies.

  3. AHHHH that was really sweet. I'm glad that life is starting to fall in place for you and your new family. :) It will get easier, hang in there and take every bit of help you can get.

  4. You know, each freaking time you post something, it's just as good, or better than the last.

    Beautiful.

    Lucky you.

    Lucky Phil.

    Lucky Beans…

    And so far, it looks like Lucky Linus!

    Cuddle uP!

  5. Girl, you are so damn lucky. It's awesome that you know it. That's the key. Yeah for Phil. Damn, he's a good example for men out there.

    Sounds like you guys are being great parents. Soooooo happy for you. :)

  6. As my girlfriends always say, " You can sleep with whomever you want, but be careful who you breed with!" You picked such a nice guy. And that's so important; when the new passion wears off to wake up 3 years later with a man of substance. Luckily I did the same, and my husband's character never shown brighter than when our 2nd child (Spencer) was born with Down syndrome. He too stood by and washed pump parts and picked me up emotionally. Stephanie, for some reason this blog really touched me. Thank you.

  7. Glad to read it :)

    As a mom of twins I completely understand the difficulty of breast feeding two. I compromised, breastfed one while the other was bottle fed (sometimes as the same time, lying down next to me.) At the next feeding the other baby got the boob, the other the bottle. After 3 mos. they both went to bottle.

    All the best to you and Phil, the first bit is the hardest. Until they start to crawl ;)

  8. Exact. Same. Thing. Happened to me. I tell him I want to be exclusive. He leaves the country with overlap girl. He comes home early…little knowing I had firmly resolved to never speak to him again ….and I find him on my way in from work sitting on my door step. He'd missed me the whole time. Etc. etc. And I forget my resolution to forget him.

    I'm jealous of no one …except her. Does it help that she's a model / lawyer? Not one damn bit. I mean, who thinks that kind of combination up anyway?

  9. Congratulations on being home with your babies already, but most of all, congrats on being able to find time to post!

  10. …and his best choice is you.

    Hang in there. You're going to feel weary for a good long time. It sucks, but there's another truth for you.

  11. What a sweet post. It's very understandable that you'd have trust issues with overlap-girl vacations, but I'm really glad you gave him a chance to prove his worth. Best wishes to you and your family!

  12. It is overwhelming, I also had a preemie with prolonged health problems. Fantastic, that you have such a gem for a husband. Keep getting rest as it will save your sanity. Fall back into the arms of the people you trust and love and PLAINLY ask, cajole, or beg for help. The pics of your babes are so sweet. From one texas transplant to another,keep on fighting the good fight. The "beans" are home at last!
    best wishes

  13. I hate that we're supposed to be all understanding and thankful when someone comes clean with us, so they continue to come clean in the future. Screw that.

    So true!

  14. He really does sound almost too good to be true. It's nice that you have so many posts about Phil to remind you how terrific he is, but it's even nicer that he keeps doing things to remind you how terrific he is. Lucky, lucky you.

    BTW, I am in awe of mothers of multiples. Deep respect.

  15. This is a wonderful post. It is such a nice feeling when you know you've chosen well. Congratulations to you both on a wonderful family, beautiful babies, and an exciting new life together.

  16. breast feeding one child, i thought, was a nightmare. i can't imagine two. i think it's great that you are getting sleep and what you'll find is that the sleep thing will really start to hurt your mental health if you don't get enough. it's only now that i realize why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. you need a nanny, and fast. is there an agency that can get you a baby nurse? good luck, and keep up the naps. the more stress, the less milk.

  17. man i remember those days…the "ill-be-hungry-again-in-two-hours" clock begins the moment they start feeding. So by the time you're done and the parts are rinsed and you put one load of laundry in and you lay down they are up again. don't worry though–because when they have growth spurts they "graze" every thirty minutes for 24 hours a day for about 2 days to "up" your milk supply. do you get that cringing sharp pain running through your body when you finally lay down to sleep and one of them rustles in their sleep? it was like this burning tingling fear that OMG please don't wake up now i just want to sleep!!! Phil sounds wonderful–you are so lucky to have such a supporting husband and he is lucky to have such a strong wife!!

  18. Forget for a moment, if you will, that Phil's a wonderful husband and father and that we're all full o' bean love. I know that this is history, BUT…

    I cannot get my mind around a man who A) gives a woman full court romance press yet keeps a spare (or 2?) on hand, and B) goes away with one woman — who presumably believes herself to be in a relationship of some sort, right? — and buys pearls for another woman.

    I guess its a 21st century thing, and I'm a 20th century gal.

  19. I recall you telling me this story over drinks (memoriiiiiies) and I'm fantastically happy that things have turned out so well for you two. Or I suppose four. Definitely a keeper, Miss Stephanie.

  20. Your strength and honest bravery continues into new depths. I respect how you are so true in your love of Phil. How you own up to the unfairness of some feelings and how generous you are with your praise and reverence of him. What a match you two made!

  21. I was doing that lip/pout/'overlap' thing while I was reading this…

    Theres always that ONE woman in a list of his past that seems to creep into our minds as if they're somehow better than us because he chose them once. But the thing is, theres that ONE woman in the list of his past that he chose last. Lucky, lucky you.

  22. Did you know Phil would be a good father early on? I find I often screen men for how they'd treat their children/me with children in the picture.

  23. Barbara E said:

    I cannot get my mind around a man who A) gives a woman full court romance press yet keeps a spare (or 2?) on hand, and B) goes away with one woman — who presumably believes herself to be in a relationship of some sort, right? — and buys pearls for another woman.

    I guess its a 21st century thing, and I'm a 20th century gal.

    I agree with you Barbara, and I assume that's why Stephanie and Phil went to counseling. Frankly I think that would make anyone feel a bit untrusting and insecure. Anyway, they seem to have resolved those issues and that's good to hear.

    Mari

    p.s. – the babies are adorable; glad to see that they are home.

  24. You always have to believe that you are hotter, smarter, and funnier than the overlap girl. Even if she is an Angelina Jolie look-alike who graduated from Harvard.

  25. Damn you! I'm sitting here with a lump in my throat and tears about to brim over my eyes…I guess it's my fault, I shouldn't log onto your blog ten minutes before I have to attend a Partnership board meeting. I love each and every minute and word you share with us — your readership. You are an amazing woman, just having sprung from the hospital with your double delights and a day later you're posting again! You are a fantastic human being, Stephanie. Best of luck to your new little family.

    I have always been, and will always remain,

    A faitful reader :)

  26. I loved this post. Breastfeeding made me feel so "touched out" that I often could not bear the cuddles – and I usually loved them! A bit of advice re: pump parts. For every little money, you can buy lots of extra plastic parts – so you don't need to always be washing. I realized this way too late. Everything but the tubes and motor can be puchased separately. Hate washing those parts. Best of luck to all.

  27. OMG! Happy Tears…

    I was recently telling my 13 year old daughter about how her Dad & I would tag team when she first came home from the hospital. And how wonderful he was!

    One night, I woke to my baby's cry — I was searching room by room when I finally discovered the two of them in the laundry room of all places. Our daughter in her car seat atop of the dryer with a horrific sound coming from the dryer…
    ka clunk ka clunk! He had read somewhere that by tossing his (Size 11) tennis shoe in the dryer that the sound might be soothing to the baby. Lol Bless his dear heart for trying!!

    He was dead tired and had to work in just a few hours. I stepped in feeling strong and revived, and beaming with pride — I knew he'd make a wonderful Daddy, but I was never so proud or thankful for him as I was at that very moment! We high-fived as he passed me on my way in. It's one of my fondest memories of him as a new Dad.

    I'm delighted for you and Phil. The beans are so blessed to have you as parents! And you them! Enjoy.

    All my best to you–

    S.

  28. Stephanie…

    Even though this is my first post, I’ll attempt at keeping this short (although it may be difficult for me). You are, without a doubt, simply yummy. Uh, allow me to explain that…

    I was recommended your blog and book late last year by a friend, and since have absorbed all the details of your book, much of your blogs include some past posts and seeing as I got the holiday special from your site, one of your photos are now framed in my apartment (the martini with the olives, I adore it). I am recently divorced as of last year, and struggling with literally everything you’ve gone through (um yeah, underline the word “everything”). You should charge me for therapy sessions because you are apart of helping me heal and giving me hope from how far you’ve come.

    I’m currently dating someone seriously, and probably too early (I know… he was bad timing). But I gave it a shot anyway. I have the same thoughts to go rummaging through his things, and even though I resist, they come up anyway. We work together, and yesterday he was showing me a couple pictures of his old cats at his desk really quick. In the little thumbnails were pictures of his ex-fiancé’s engagement ring. Yikes. I swallowed the lump in my throat and pretended not to notice. I hate moments like that but I do love that he is so open with me that he doesn’t think to hide anything. I have to give him that.

    A couple of minutes ago he came up to my desk and stuck a little sticky note on my hand that read, “You’re so damn yummy!” He makes me grin. “Yummy” is my special word… it describes people, both male and female, that are simply beautiful inside and out to me. They add a unique and wonderful flavor and taste to my life. They make me better. They’re just… yummy. It’s my quirky word to describe people that surpass, or should I say encompass, beautiful, compassionate, gorgeous… and all the other wonderful descriptive words in the English language.

    Even though I don’t know you personally and we’ve never met, you’ve become one of those people in my life. Thank you for being so vulnerably honest and putting the deepest parts of you out there. You probably don’t realize all the lives you’ve enriched and you’ve made me feel as though I’m not alone in all this (and how easy it is to fall into that trap!)

    I know men make mistakes and do some dumb things (and keep things from their past that make no sense to me to have around- but I can get off on a tangent about that!) but it sounds like you found a great man to you, and a great daddy for those beautiful little ones of yours. That’s not easy to find.

    I find it awkward to think of handing out advice to you since I’m learning from you, but definitely keep up your rest. And keep reminding him how special and appreciated he is; we can so often forget that in life.

  29. Off-topic, but if Phil is cleaning the pump, and cleans out the tubing, and is having trouble getting all the water out of the tube, have him hold the tube in the middle, and spin it around really quickly. It'll get 95% of the water out.

  30. Phil sounds amazing. Lucky you. Lucky him. Lucky babies. I know it's hard and tiring and overwhelming, but it's so nice to think of the four of you being home together. One piece of advice, if you don't mind. Re the "ssh, ssh, ssh" process: I learned that it was best not to make everyone in the house keep super quiet while my babies slept. They're better off getting used to sleeping through a little noise (I can't imagine that it was too quiet in the hospital). Then you'll constantly be walking around telling everyone to be quiet. Also, accept as much help as you can get. Hope you find a nanny soon, and in the meantime, sleep when you can, cuddle when you feel like it, and love that beautiful family of yours. Can't wait to see more pictures. Thanks for posting even through all the exhaustion.

  31. "I guess its a 21st century thing, and I'm a 20th century gal." Well said, Barbara E., so well said.

    Years ago my boyfriend (my boyfriend for four month at this time) went to a trip to Canada with some other guys. I tried not to distrust him and let him go. Weeks later when he was back I found a letter. He told me that she was a girl he`s met on the trip but he swore that nothing`s happened. Though I believed him I begun to hold a part of me back. I thought if I don`t give 100% of me I could play on the safe side emotinally, thought this could save me from disappointment. But I was wrong; we broke up four years later. Now I know that if you love someone you have to trust him and that if you can`t trust him, there`s no future for this relationsship. There`s always a risk to get disappointed if you`re in love, but you have to trust the one you love or you will loose him.

  32. I am so impressed that you found the time to write that lovely lovely post. Congratulations on your organizational and stamina abilities, for remaining so perfectly lucid and for letting us in on it.

  33. Awww…the beans already went out for a walk in the double stroller. They must've loved the fresh air after being cooped up for so long. How sweet!

  34. oh my god! there is nothing cuter than a dad and a baby carriage!!! how cute are those pics of phil with babies…walking 'round the hood. LOVE IT! honestly, they are so precious! (all 3 of them!)

  35. "I need space, except when I don't."
    That line is perfect….I could say the same thing, but haven't been able to put it into words. I agree with whoever said that every entry of yours is as good or better than the last.
    It's amazing the power that pictures have. I don't know you, but I feel a connection somehow through the feeling that your pictures evoke. It's funny to feel so happy for someone that I have never met, but I do. Maybe it's because I work in a hospital and I work sometimes in the NICU, so I have seen people go through your situation, but I am sooooo happy for you that the beans are home. And also that you have someone as great as Phil to take care of you all! Keep resting as much as you can – you deserve it. Thanks for all of your heartwarming writing.

  36. Eh.

    I think Phil made his share of mistakes (probably even much bigger ones than SK has reported b/c most men do mess up, right?) but it sounds like he's definitely stepping up. And he did put up with SK's neuroses regarding men and her distrust while they were dating.

    But he is stepping up for SK or the twins, or both, he's getting the job done and doing what SK and the babies need.

    Sometimes it's when the situation is pure shit that you see another's true colors and strength.

    Exhaustion will start to set in if it hasnt already, Stephanie, but dont worry, those beautiful babies will be sleeping through the night soon and you will feel like a completely new person.

    Hang in there.

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