Hubby called on Sunday afternoon, and told me he was going to come home on Monday, while Kat was on her ABA outing, to see me. He said he missed me. This was new, and different. Guys don’t just leave deer camp during hunting season and come home for a day. At least, my guy doesn’t. And, yet, he was calling to say he was going to be leaving and coming home for the day to have lunch with me.
I spend Sunday night prepping lunch for us the next day. I want to make sure Hubby gets a good lunch. He’s coming to see me, and I want to make him feel special. Maybe the workbook is working…..feeling connected, even a little bit, emotionally, has made us miss each other, and made us want to do something special and nice for the other person. It’s easier to do nice things and to recognize the nice things being done when you aren’t looking for the hurts your partner is inflicting on you, intentionally or otherwise.
After therapy, I bustled around the kitchen, making sure things were ready for lunch. I was going to be serving homemade challah bread with squash soup, cranberry turkey roll ups, and turtle chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven. My plan was to put the cookies in the oven just as we started lunch, so they would be done just as we were done. I had baked the rest of the cookies the night before, so that Hubby could take them back with him to deer camp.
Hubby walks in the door, gives me a big hug, right away. “Hey hon. I missed you. Something smells great in here.” His voice is full of emotion, it’s not the robot man voice I have become accustomed to hearing from him; he really has missed me. My eyes tear up a little, and I have to blink them away.
“I missed you. I made squash soup, turkey roll ups, with cranberries, veggies, cranberry dressing.” I walk him to the table, serve him lunch.
He notices the ziplock bags of cookies sitting by his place at the table. “You made me cookies to take back?!?”
I smile, and sit down to eat. “Yeah. I figured you had to be out of snacks, or at least running low.”
Hubby grins. He’s excited to have cookies. “Is this your challah bread?” Now Hubby is really excited. He digs into the bread and soup.
We eat lunch, and talk about things he notices I’ve done around the house. He comments about the counters looking more cleared off. I explain that he had told me he likes the counters to be clear as possible, and so I had cleared them off as much as I could. He tells me thank you, and also not to stress out about it. We talk about how I am losing my perfectionistic ways, and he doesn’t want to go back to crazy cleaning Alice who couldn’t stand to see one thing out of place.
After lunch, we curl up on the couch together, and talk some more. We don’t look at our phones, or iPads and Hubby doesn’t turn on his game.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of deer, but no luck,” he tells me. We chat about hunting, and what his group has been doing. He’s hunting with his family.
Later, we talk about my session with Bea; I tell him that I told her about the workbook, and how the idea of attachment between spouses is really an idea that doesn’t seem to be widely practiced or accepted by couples therapists.
“I actually ended up buying the book by the woman who created the therapy our workbook is based on. I wanted to know more.” I’m a hopeless nerd. Hubby knows this.
“Oh yeah? Is it like our workbook, things to fill out? Maybe I should read it, too?” Hubby sounds serious, like he really would read it, and he sounds curious.
I tell him about the book, that he doesn’t really need to read it, that I got it to satisfy my inner nerd, that I was more just curious about the idea of adult attachment, and wanted to know more. “It’s really interesting to me that I seem to relate to you in a lot of the ways my mom complains about me relating to her. Like the way I used to follow her around, or how I talked nonstop. I think it’s different, looking at things this way, because a lot of couples stuff is just a script on how to talk to each other. I feel like this is more. This is really relating, really talking.”
“Well, we don’t need a script. I might read that book. It’s good. This is good.” Hubby says it slow. Like he’s not sure he wants to admit it, but he does. Maybe it’s not macho to admit it.
We end up just talking about nothing, about Kat, about his work, about me and yoga, and just snuggling. Eventually Hubby looks at the clock and says reluctantly, ” I better go. It will be dark before I get back, and Kat will be home soon.”
I nod. I’m sad. He’ll be home in three days for good, but I already miss him, I already feel alone. “I miss you.” I snuggle into him a little more.
“You can call me if you need anything, and I will come back, okay?” Hubby strokes my hair, kisses the top of my head like I’m a little child.
“Yeah, I know.”
We hug and kiss goodbye, say “I love you.”
When he leaves, a piece of me goes with me, and I feel emptier than before. I missed him more than I thought, more than I knew. I had been so hardened to what our relationship could be, I had no idea. Little glimpses had been shown to me throughout our relationship, our marriage, sure. But as soon as Hubby had gotten close, as soon as I had seen a glimpse of this emotional connecting, I had shoved him away as hard as I could– yelling, complaining, ignoring, criticizing, and then, when I felt him being distant, talking incessantly and following him around the house. The pattern is so easy to see now. What’s comfortable to me is to talk and follow. It’s what I grew up doing. It’s what I know. So it’s the pattern I pushed my adult attachment relationship into.
But now, now things are changing. Now, we are trying a new way, a new pattern. And I can see how close we could be, how much trust and security and safety there could be between us. I’m scared of this, and I have to make an effort not to shove Hubby away from me. If I can survive my own discomfort, I have a feeling, it’s going to be so worth it in the end.