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Wednesday
Oct072009

Naked Ring Finger

I sat with an angel the other day. 

I'm not even sure I believe in angels, really, but how else to explain the most unusual, most extraordinary encounter in the doctor's office.

I suppose my dead stare and slumped shoulders spoke of anxiety, exhaustion, melancholy even.

The nurse walked into the waiting room and asked if I was OK. "Yes," I answered. But I wasn't. She walked away.

When she returned again to start the twins' annual check up, saw their chart and the fact that there were two of them, she gave a knowing, "Oh, now I understand."

Turns out she's a mother of twins herself. 

She charmed my two and eased their discomfort as she weighed and measured them then sent us back to the playroom to wait until a room freed up. 

I went back to my internal stewing. 

And, then, there she was. Seated beside me.

"When was the last time you went on a date with your husband?" she asked. 

Silence. Followed by an uncomfortable laugh. When was it? 

The garden was swallowed by weeds three weeks ago because I haven't been to tend it. Every morning, we pull clean underpants and search for socks from a mountain of laundry that I don't have time to fold. The file of e-mails from dear friends I need to respond to keeps growing. Bills need paid. Papers need filed. We need milk. Again.

A date? Just the two of us?

I feel triumphal when I get the kids fed, to school, bathed and brushed. When we just make it through the day.

"Is it written all over my face?" I asked. 

"You have to do it." she said. "It's worth the effort, right?"

She held her left hand up. No wedding ring. 

The naked hand punched me in the gut - HARD! - and took my breath clean away.

Some may have thought she overstepped her bounds. Considered her intrusive. But she diagnosed a malady and wrote an effective prescription faster than any doctor: a date.

Here's the remarkable thing and something I only thought of hours later: I recognize all the nurses. With four kids, I'm in the office ALL the time. But I've never seen her before and there she was - on the day I needed her most. Balm to my heavy heart.

When I thanked her, she told me that she always makes a point to talk to parents of twins. The strain of raising multiples is something others don't understand and it's particularly taxing on relationships, she said. 

So, this weekend, Kent and I are leaving the gang with a babysitter and biking to the Lincoln Memorial. We ended our first date on the steps of the memorial talking, talking. And talking. Back when we didn't realize just how luxurious time, and quiet, can be.

We got engaged on the steps a few years later. 

A date. 

My guardian angel - with her simple gesture - probably did more to help my children than any doctor or nurse at that office ever will. They'll survive without us for a few hours on a Saturday morning. They'd have a much harder time without us as they grow.

Reader Comments (5)

WHOA. And...good. I'm glad you and Kent are getting away for a bit.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLea R

Amen to that, nurse lady!

My friend Martine just directed me to your site and this is the first post I chose. It fits very perfectly today.

July 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfoxy.kate

Thanks for stopping by. I took a peek at your blog as well and it looks like you're in charge of madness too. Here's hoping we both survive the next 10 years with our sanity and, most importantly, our relationships in tact.

July 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFeast After Famine

I just found your blog...I can't even remember how I got here! But I love love love this post. I have 4 kids of my own (no multiples) and sometimes the days melt into each other until I realize it's been a week since I even gave my husband a hug. We have a fantastic marriage, despite the exhaustion and stress. But I always have one thought running through my head....."If I do my job correctly, our kids will grow up and leave us. That's how it should be. But when they're gone, will I be enjoying a new-found independence with my beloved husband? Or will I be mourning the fact that I poured all of my energy into my children and left our marriage out in the cold?" And so, I live my life and operate our household under one very powerful motto: Our marriage comes first. Good luck to you and may you have a million more date nights with your beloved.

September 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMamaCas

I just found your blog, sort of by accident, and I'm so happy to find it! I'm a mom who tried, unsuccessfully, for almost 3 years to concieve and then found myself a fertile myrtle! I have a 2 year old, an 11month old, and am pregnant with identical twins!! This actually sounds a lot like me and I don't even have my twins, yet! I'm excited to read more about what you have to say about raising a family of 4 and raising twins! Thanks, for the advice, too, I"lklk have to keep that in mind for the next year when our twins come, from one fertile myrtle to another! :)

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenni K

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