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.