front row support

Saturday I did something that I never thought I would: I stood up in front of a crowd in a bookstore and read a piece of my own published work.

When the other contributors were arranging the readings across the country, I volunteered to join the one in Goshen, Indiana. I figured I would drive the two hours alone, do the reading, grab some food, and come home just in time to help with bedtime.  As the date got closer, Cortney suggested we make it a family event. He knew I was sort of nervous and he wanted to be there for me.

So a couple days before the event, we decided to all go.

While Charlie acted like a typical two-year old who had been in the car for two hours and was now strapped in a stroller, Eddie was amazing for someone who is not yet five.

Apparently, Cortney took him aside that morning and talked to him about what we were going to be doing. He asked Eddie if he knew what it meant to “support” someone. He explained that mommy would be nervous and would do a better job if they were there to tell her she was going to be great, give her thumbs up, and listen to her. This entire conversation happened without my knowledge.

What I saw was a cranky two-year old, a husband who wanted to keep him quiet, but still see his wife, and an almost-five-year old sitting by himself, front and center waiting to hear his momma read her story. Charlie was being a bit beastly, so Cortney took him for a walk, but Eddie stayed with me. He told me that it was Ok if I messed up because I would still be his best mommy.

While Cortney pushed the stroller around outside and in the back of the book store, Eddie sat quietly through the first two readers. Every now and then he would make eye contact with me and flash me a huge smile, give me a thumbs up, or mouth “I love you” to me.

When it was my turn to read, he smiled and intently watched me. I introduced myself, my piece, and explained that after all the heartache of losing pregnancies, my biggest fan was born, and that he was in the front row. He beamed.

I read my piece (and Cortney was able to hear 3/4 of it regardless of Charlie’s antics), and Eddie clapped the loudest.

When all was said and done and we were driving home, I thought about my Eddie. He took the idea of supporting those we love to his heart and really applied it. He acted years older than his almost five years.

I wonder often what my children will remember when they are this young.

Will he remember sitting and listening to his mommy tell the story about losing her pregnancy? Did he understand any of the stories he heard that day? I saw him paying attention. I wonder what was going through his mind.

Is this just the first time he will listen to his mother tell her stories, or was it a one shot?

For all the questions and thoughts I have about Eddie being there on Saturday, I know that he learned an important lesson about being there for those you love. He learned that lifting them up helps them accomplish what they want to do.

When I think about Saturday, the thing I am most proud of is not my published writing, not that I stood up and read something that was hard to write, but that my boy stuck by me and loved me through it all.

2014-06-07 17.18.10

We are always talking about our marriage and family as being a team effort. I think Eddie is really starting to learn that he is a very important member of that team.

we are seamed together

Somewhere around 3am Saturday morning I got sick.  Really, really sick.

Everyone in Sluiter Nation had a bit o the sickness last week.  Eddie was sick over last weekend and had to stay home to recover on Monday.  Cort was ill Thursday night to Friday.  Charlie seemed sick (though we suspect teething was the culprit) Friday.

But none of it, even added all together, was as bad as the giant truck of ill that ran me down Saturday.

Of course this sickness was on the tail end of my bragging about my iron-clad immune system.

Check and mate, universe.

I mumbled something to Cort Saturday morning about texting my friends Trisha and Catye whom I had plans with that morning to tell them I couldn’t make it.  And then I passed in and out of vomitty consciousness for the next 20ish hours.

I will spare you the details of those Lost Hours of my life, but they involved very little food/drink and wildly strange dreams and trips to the bathroom.

I vaguely remember the sounds of my boys going through their daily life…meals, baths, laughter, and tantrums.  Most of it is a blur, though.

At one point Eddie came in my room to ask me if he could eat the crackers on my nightstand (that Cort must have placed there), resulting in Cort shoo-ing him out of my room so I could keep sleeping.

When I came out of my haze, I was reluctant to get out of bed and see the rest of my house.

Not because I thought it would be a mess, but because I figured I would get overwhelmed with all the items that would just start flooding my mental To Do list that I would just not have the energy to do.

So at 8:30pm on Saturday, when Cort came in and gently said to me, “babe? the boys are in bed if you want to get up and sit in the chair for a little bit,” I at first answered no.

But I needed to get out of that bed, so I reluctantly shuffled to the chair.

All the toys were picked up save for a few of Charlie’s things.  The dishwasher was loaded with the excess piled neatly in the sink.  Cort was preheating the oven to make his first real meal of the day.

My husband had been busy.

He had gotten up around 5am to feed a baby.  After getting him back to sleep and laying down himself, Eddie woke up him up just after 7am.  He did non-stop dadding for over 12 hours with zero {purposeful} interruptions to me.  No questions about feeding or naps or baths.  No whining about having to do it on his own while he was recovering (he had been sick the day before).

He just did it.

He also insisted that I stay home Sunday morning to “recover” while Charlie napped and he took Eddie to church.  I was sad to stay home (Sunday was Eddie’s first day of Sunday School and “Bible Sunday” where he got his first Bible with his name in it), but I needed the rest and he knew that better than I did.

He needed rest too, but he put me first and took care of the business of Sluiter Nation.

It doesn’t amaze me.

I knew that Cort was this way when I married him.

He had been doing his own laundry since high school; he knew how to do it “on his own”.

He also stayed home with Eddie for over a year when Ed was Charlie’s age.  Being the “one in charge” is not new to him.

But I was reminded how lucky I am.

I know from reading my facebook newsfeed, my twitter stream, and just listening to the women I work with talk about their husbands that Cortney is not in the majority.

I am aware that most men are not…um…”domestically inclined.”

Not all…most.  Some men are THE domestic person in their household.  And truth be told? If we could afford it, Cort would be the Stay at Home Parent and I would work.  Because he is really better at the “running a household” than I am.

But I am lucky.

I am lucky to have a partner in this crazy life.

I am lucky to have a partner who tells me I am pretty even when I know I am not.

I am lucky to have someone pick up where I leave off without even a question of “how” or “why”.

I never believed that there was someone out there that “completes” each of us.  I never thought of myself as “incomplete”.  And Cort doesn’t “complete” me, but he is an extension of me as I am of him.  It’s like we have been seamed together: where I end, he begins.

Being hit by a mac truck driven by the flu sucked. But it had the silver lining of reminding me what a great man I said “yes” to over 8 years ago.

I only hope that feels this comfort in having me as his wife.