It was just about three years ago that the thoughts began to swirl around my head. It was about the same point in time that I became cognizant of my own clinical depression; lucky for daddy, I’d say, because without some self-awareness I’m sure things would not have ended pretty. You see, Evangeline, I still can’t pinpoint exactly what it was that made me want to kill your father. Did I blame his sperm for the shooting mastitis pains that would pierce my nipples at 3am while he would lay peacefully, snoring, by my side? Or was it the fact that I envied his commute to work on such wildly irrational terms that on some mornings I would contemplate slashing his tires? “Do you have ANY idea what I would do with a two hour commute?” I would rant, “I would blast the FUCK out of Tupac, and I would say “fuck” like 40,000 times… oh, AND I would drink a hot cup of coffee! It would be SO HOT! And you know what? You KNOW WHAT? It would feel like the pre-parent equivalent of a two-hour massage. ACTUALLY! It would feel like a TWO-HOUR MASSAGE WITH A HAPPY ENDING!”
It wasn’t just the sleeping or the commute. Oh, no, we wouldn’t, couldn’t and shouldn’t stop there. It was really anything he did on his own: showering, shitting, eating, drinking, dressing. It was the things that he didn’t do on his own, too, like talking to other humans on a daily basis. If he would complain about a coworker, I would respond with, “do you know what I’d do to have a coworker I hate right now? At least they’d be able to respond if I asked them if they have shit in their pants!” And the hour-long bathroom breaks? I’d always get all blustery about it and say dumb shit like, “Oh, I’ll show him what an hour-long bathroom break looks like!” But, reality looked more like a toddler banging on the door screaming “mommy, get out!” and there I’d be, flushing the toilet before I’d have a chance to lock the door.
That first year, Eva? It didn’t look good on me. I can remember being 8-months pregnant, complaining about how uncomfortable I was- how little I was sleeping. I’d like to go back in time and slap my 8-month pregnant self. Tell her to take really long poops with the door locked. I would make her weekly facial appointments and reservations for every meal at her favorite restaurants. Ask her to take 20-minute showers and let the dishes pile high in her sink. I would tell her to work as long as she can and interact with other adults as much as humanly possible. Talk for hours on the phone and savor every bite of a meal eaten solo. Because the day that baby comes, shit WILL hit the fan. And while your boobs are getting engorged, while every part of your body from your vagina to your brain will go on temporary (though seemingly eternal) loan, your baby’s daddy will get to keep his balls. He’ll hold onto his mind, his job and his dignity. And you’ll hate him for it.
Thankfully, Evangeline, the day did come where you were able to survive off my teat. The day I sent you off to preschool, I did get to have that hot cup of coffee, lunch with friends and a really long shit, shower and shave. And as I pieced back all the parts that had been missing from me, I found myself happy to have your dad around. When my boobs became mine again, I no longer resented him for not producing milk. When you became old enough to yell, “daddy, I need you!” every night at 12, 2, 4, and 6am, I would smile wide, then dig my head back into my plush pillow. And the day you learned to turn doorknobs? Well, I noticed his bathroom breaks became much, much shorter that very same day.
I guess what I realized is that there IS such a thing as parenting karma. And if your marriage can survive postpartum insanity, severe sleep deprivation and breastfeeding sessions that make you wish you were being waterboarded instead, then you’ll see him get his. Because that’s nature- marriage and parenting are not immune. Now that daddy is the favorite, it’s his turn to play survival of the fittest. And he plays the game with grace and heavy eyelids. Now that I’m setting alarms for the first time in years (both because I am finally able to attain REM and because I finally like being awake), I can tell you with 100% certainty that I am so happy I didn’t kill him off. Because he’s a really, really good dad. Well there’s that…and the fact that had he been eliminated from the game, I’d be stuck playing it all by myself.