It’s 10:30 PM, and after eating some of my mom’s delicious fudge, and staring at the criss-cross of water lines zigging over the reverse osmosis water tank sitting under the kitchen sink where it sounds like the run-off of a 3 hour torrent is draining into the metal chamber, leaving me wondering what is going on in there, and checking the box scores of the two Lobo teams that played basketball tonight, and after reading for an hour or so in Tom Dowling’s book of being a husband, I finally sit down to write.
And I am reminded that, besides two sleep-friendly felines, I am alone in this 1660 square foot structure, where one of the upstairs bedrooms which would be ideal for a little girl’s room with pink carpets and polychomatic unicorn posters on the walls contains two litter boxes on an old board and a single 6 foot tall cat tower instead. The other room is called the guest room and contains two twin beds and a dresser and is adjoined to the central bathroom, but I’ve had maybe 5 people use that room for a week and a half total since I’ve been in this house, and it would be a nice corner upstairs for two boys to read Hardy Boy books in, floors litter with Hot Wheels and baseball cards and dirty laundry and gum wrappers.
It is what it is.
I blame it on Dowling.
In reality, his chronicle of his tumble into marriage and parenthood has been both anxiety-provoking and nail-biting. And absolutely funny.
But it is bittersweet for me.
To hear about his first experiences of getting used to life patterns with his wife.
To hear about his wisdom gleaned from being 20 years to a woman who was as much a stranger as his love focus when he jettisoned his American life to be with this British woman.
To hear about the night his wife’s water broke, and they continued watching TV to the end of the program they were watching to hang on to their current reality for a little longer.
To hear him describe the abject confusion and powerlessness he felt standing in the delivery room as his wife had their first son.
And to hear him doff his dry, droll style of describing the moments of his daily life to wade into tender melancholy when he sees his wife with their first child, knowing he is now a father, and that he can never be a mother, connected to that child like she is then.
It is a book of wicked funny observations at times. But Dowling is human, deeply so, and in his attempts to wring humor out of his failures and mistakes and accidents being a husband and a dad, he keeps the veil up pretty well, but we still see glimpses of a guy who embraces it all, being a husband and dad, whatever that means in his wacky home, where he is still unsure what that may be to his Type A personality wife and his kids.
I love that about this book and its author.
He unpacks the reality of marriage and parenting in a precariously graceful way, saying what is known by those serving in those posts: no marriage is really automatically easy, but any marriage can be good.
I pat the cats on their heads. I’ll eat another piece of Mom’s great fudge, and I will go to bed. Tomorrow is not promised, but it most likely will come, and I will have a new day to make choices that impact my life.
And I can learn about Dowling the Dad tomorrow.