“I’m sorry—I don’t know what you want me to say. I just don’t feel the same connection you do.”
My husband sat open-palmed on the edge of our rumpled, unmade bed—the telltale sign of another restless night and all-too-frequent wake ups.
I stood in front of him with my arms crossed over my chest, half defensively, half because I rarely took the time to put on a bra under my usual oversized V-neck.
What does he mean he doesn’t feel the same connection? This was our son he was talking about, for goodness’ sake.
The same child I had carried for nine months, feeling every flutter and hiccup before he ever drew his first breath.
The same child whose little coos and gentle snores stole my heart every time he drifted to sleep on my chest.
The same child who was just beginning to focus his steely, blue-eyed gaze and take in the vast world around him.
The same child who made me a mommy, and my husband a daddy.
I couldn’t think of anything in my life I loved with more intensity or vulnerability, but here was my husband, sitting before me in defeat, telling me he didn’t feel the same way.
I didn’t understand. I was heartbroken.
And so was he.
I don’t remember how the conversation ended. I don’t remember if I tried to reassure him, if I stormed out in rage, if I dismissed his feelings. All I remember was the small crack that had formed between us opening up into a gaping chasm.
The funny thing about chasms: you don’t always fall in. Sometimes you just keep going. Even when you’re on opposite sides.
So we did. And slowly, something started to shift.
Our son started to smile. His serious, inquisitive stare would land on my husband and stay there.
They started to play together, my husband tossing our little guy up into the air the way only supremely confident daddies can do.
I watched as their connection formed, then it strengthened, and flourished.
Over time, the chasm between us became passable via rope bridge—precarious but holding fast.
We’re finally back on the same side.
Now he gets home from work and our son drops whatever he’s doing and toddles over, his chubby arms outstretched for a hug. My husband scoops him up and a little set of sticky hands go immediately around his neck, a face nuzzled under his chin.
Sometimes I catch my husband’s eye over a headful of wispy hairs and I see for myself.
He feels it now.