You be the ship on the sea
You be the cargo, let I be the wave
And I'll carry you safely away
That's the refrain of a song my husband wrote. It is an allegory of parenting, about a fisherman who saves a baby mermaid. There was a time I cried Every Single Time he played it. I remember coming up the stairs with a basket of clean diapers to fold. I heard him humming the tune and I had to put my head in the basket and I wept. "You be the cargo, let I be the wave, and I'll carry you safely away. From me." It still makes me cry.
My kids heard us fighting last week and it scared them so bad. They heard me use the words: respect, end, and marriage and they were instantly worried. Use the words? They heard me spit the words. And it impressed them. As it should. I want to feel guilty they heard us fighting. But I check that impulse. They should hear us fight more because we do occasionally fight. How can you not? Living together is hard. Its is work. It is painful to offer yourself freely and so vulnerably. But love requires this. Requires it. You can not love well without loving freely and vulnerably. It is scary. And sometimes you have to say things loudly to be heard over everyone's Psyche. Kind of like parenting, really.
The children need to see this clearly and certainly. Its a lesson in advocating for yourself and for your marriage. Its a lesson in balance, in give and take, in fortitude and ferocity. All of that. I wouldn't want them to enter a relationship without those lessons.
But mostly, I wouldn't want them to enter a relationship with anyone less dedicated or less honest or less giving than their Daddy. A man who has responded to the challenge of parenthood by giving us everything he has. How can I fight with him? He gives more than any man I know. He bakes bread. He builds tree houses. He hands over his entire paycheck. He played banjo by the bathtub, back when they were small. He reads stories. He makes sure the nightlight works, finds the special blankie, plays endless games of Dungeons and Dragons. And he sings it all.
Does he sound amazing? He is. But that doesn't mean we won't fight. We will and do. And the kids should be aware. Perfection is not the goal and we are not perfect. We struggle. We fight hard.