Friday, January 25, 2013

Two Lines, One Marriage

We had bought a few pregnancy tests in our marriage, so our “three hour tour” to Kroger was not the first time for either of us. 

This is how it usually went:  We would return from the store.  She would go into the bathroom.  Shut the door.  Silence.  I would wonder why it took her so long.  Silence.  I would begin thinking about home improvement projects in the hallway connecting the living room to the bathroom.  Silence.  I would calculate the square feet of the hallway connecting the living room to the bathroom.  Silence.  I would try to imagine hardwood floors in the hallway connecting the living room to the bathroom.  Silence.  Then, she would say, “Matt, will you come in here?”

I would walk in.

“Can you read this?  Is that one line or two?”

I would look.  Clearly one line.  No doubt about it.

“One line, babe.  We are not pregnant.”

We would both breathe a sigh of relief.

This time, she did all of that.  The silence, the asking me if I could read it.  Everything. 

“Can you read this?  Is that one line or two?”

I looked.  Clearly two lines.  No doubt about it.

“Two lines, babe.  We are pregnant.”

It was Sunday night.  Father’s Day, 2003.  That’s when I found out I was a father.  There was no time to rethink the situation or call a “do-over.”  No calling in sick, no excuses. This kid was coming and it was depending on us to be parents.  We were in the race now, the baton had been passed.  More importantly, our little child was depending on us to be married.   It had to be a full-on effort, requiring more maturity and love from both of us.

Sunday’s response to our “two lines” was brilliant, by the way.  She looked up at me and said, “We are pregnant.”

The wording here is important.  She said “we” are pregnant.  Not “I” am pregnant.  We are pregnant.  Whether I was ready or not, whether she was ready or not, we needed to get ready in a hurry.   The test was positive.  I believe we had the right answer from the beginning.  At that moment, in the bathroom, “we” meant three.  It didn’t matter that her parents divorced or that I had not thought about raising children as much as she had.  It didn’t matter that she had intuition and that I had none.  It didn’t matter that we never think alike and that we are totally different people with different backgrounds and different ideals.  It didn’t matter.   “We” were pregnant.  “We” had a positive test and “we” are pregnant.  (I had to repeat that to myself until, after about three or four months, I believed it)

Now, I bet you think I am trying to say that my body stretched and grew and hurt and warped like Sunday’s body.  I bet you think I am saying that my emotions were a wreck and that I had indigestion for months on end.  I bet you think I am saying that I had to use the restroom more times than a four-year-old at a Kool Aid guzzling contest. 

Well, I am not saying that.  This is what I mean:  Sunday had a baby growing inside her, but that did not mean that I was off the hook.  I needed to be fully involved, just in my own way.  I needed to become a better husband, a better lover, a better man.  I must.  Just as she is changing, so must I. 

It was natural for both of us to assume that this pregnancy, this baby, immediately impacted both of us.  “We” were now pregnant. It didn’t impact us in the same way, but it certainly changed our lives forever.  In a good way.  Forever.


Bethany Harvey said...

Dr. Towles---hi! it's bethany harvey (oops--sorry, i was bethany barner in your classes) I love reading your blog--reminds me a bit of sitting in your class again :) i love the way you word things, this post in particular i loved--the whole concept of "we" in having a baby--loved it.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written Matt! I feel like I was in your house waiting for the results. I didn't know you wrote a blog but am excited to read it.