Thursday, December 27, 2007

Working Brakes

Today I was having lunch with my friend DeDe when James called my cell phone to say he had arrived in New York safely. "Oh, good," I said, as I stuffed another bite of salad in my mouth. "But I'm not at LaGuardia," he said. "I was rerouted to JFK."

"Oh?" Chomp, chomp, chomp.

"Yeah, evidently there was a brake problem and they thought the plane wouldn't make it on the shorter runways."

Pause. "Is it that bad -- the brake problem?"

"I guess it's worse than I thought. All the other planes weren't moving when we landed and we were met with a bunch of emergency vehicles covering our runway. I guess they thought we might crash."

Pause again. "Well, honey. I'm glad you're safe."

"Yeah, me too."

We finished our conversation with affection and goodbyes and I relayed the events to DeDe, who was so incredulous at my remaining calm. Inside, though, I felt far less calm. Inside, I couldn't believe the conversation I'd had. Though my James was totally safe, today was a reminder that he was a few yards short of being completely unsafe, of possibly being dead.

We're prepared for the absence of safety. Our policies are in order and we call our insurance guy by his first name. Because of the absolute lack of security in our lives, I'm furiously finishing my degree so that I may be more valuable if I'm called on to provide financially. (Now watch, it will be me who goes first. On my way to graduation, I bet.) We know that our days are numbered and our number could be called at any time, and so we prepare to go and plan for those we'll leave behind.

Regardless of any preparation, I'll never be ready for James to die.

He said he tried to call me from the plane. He said when the pilot let them know of the problem with the breaks and the change of course, he tried to call me while in the air. That's not a call I want. I don't want the "I'm going to die / I'm dying / I'm dead" phone call. (Even though the "I'm dead" one would be quite a feat.) I just don't know how I could be alone, and I'm not sure I want advanced warning -- though I have given him permission to call if he actually will end up dead. (Isn't that big of me?)

After lunch, DeDe and I took the kids to see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium , a movie about a magical man who ran an even more magical toy store. ((SPOILER ALERT!)) When he was ready to "depart" (as in die), he planned to hand the store off to its manager, a piano prodigy named Molly. Molly argued with Mr. M, telling him he couldn't depart because she thought she couldn't run the store on account of her losing her "sparkle." He died anyway and on she went until all was right and well on the Earth, a happy ending ensued, and the plot was appropriately set for a sequel. I realized then that's alot of what I feel abut James. Beyond the obvious loving him and missing him and not wanting him to be among a wrecked fuselage, James is my Mr. M who cannot die on account of my missing sparkle. And real life doesn't necessarily come with that happy ending.

I feel like I'm missing that thing that once made me me, and I'm not sure if it's retrievable. Everything in my life feels half done: incomplete scrapbooks, an unfinished degree, an unkempt garage, an uninteresting memoir. (Haha.) If James died, I would be a very half of who I presently am. I know realistically that I could survive if James died. I'm a survivor. But I don't want to be in that position out of necessity -- making it because I have to.

I have no interest in bringing home the bacon. I prefer to go shopping for the bacon with a coupon on triple value day. If I return to the workforce, I prefer it to be as a result of a choice we make together, affording us the opportunity to share an even more valuable slab of pork, or vacation, or home, or whatever. James works hard in a job he loves and is suited to and we both enjoy my staying at home to meet our respective needs here. Years ago, I could have never imagined that I would enjoy domesiticity, but I do. James seems to enjoy providing the opportunity for me to be at home, and equally enjoys the benefits that arrangement provides him and our family.

More than that, James is an extraordinary father. He loves his children so deeply, and takes such great pride in them. He plays with them, creates with them, and spoils them quite badly. He admonishes them and corrects them. He trains, teaches, and guides them. He prays for them, prays with them, and shows them how to pray. Of children, he deserves a quiver full, which is a great deal of the frustration I feel as I am unable to provide more. As a father, he cannot be replaced.

And even more than that, he's an amazing husband. Beyond the fact that he cares for me and for our family in such a tangible way, he meets needs in me I never knew I had. As a very small example, Christmas night was very difficult for me. We'd had a houseful of people for several days, but by Christmas night, we were totally alone. It felt very empty-nester-ish seeing as how our kids were with their Nanny, and our house was quiet and babyless, though little ones had been doled out in abundance all around us. The blues were blacker than blue and the air was heavier than normal. I intended to retreat inwardly, but James, my James, called me out and met me in a comforting way. That's one time out of millions that my husband has behaved towards me in a Christlike manner.

I don't ever want the call that he's gone.
I don't ever want to walk the Earth without him.
Thanks be to the Living God for brakes that function properly.

"My beloved is mine, and I am his..."
Song of Solomon 2:16a KJV


All content © Mandigirl, 2007-2013.