When we first got married, all of our counselors were quick to warn us about an inevitable adjustment we would have to make. As a child of a healthy family, and as I enjoyed a close and trusting relationship with my own father, Stephen and I would have to skillfully navigate the unavoidable comparisons and possibly conflicting expectations as I transferred my healthy dependency from dad to husband.
Yesterday, when I came home from work with what is now acting suspiciously like the flu, Stephen was confronted with a comparison that neither one of us saw coming. When he found me stretched out on the couch, pajama-clad and wrapped in blankets, depending on my husband for comfort and sustinence, he was forced to compete with the best nurse I (like every child) have ever had–my mother.
It got to be dinner time, and Stephen asked me what I wanted to eat. I stared back, incredulous. Did he even have to ask? I’m sick, what does he think I want to eat? I patiently expressed my desire (chicken noodle soup, with a side of saltines).
The tragedy of misunderstood expectations continued: Stephen did not know that sick people will die if they are not hydrated with lemon-lime Gatorade and Sprite, that chocolate ice cream remedies all ails, or that homemade ice chips make a great snack.
Stephen has patiently indulged all of my my needs, and has come up with some good ideas of his own, like moving the TV into the bedroom and feeding me mashed potatoes for dinner.
While obviously the flu is no fun, there is something to be said for the intangible healing powers of regressing to childhood. And on that note, I’m going to have a Sprite while I watch Stephen make dinner.