After a particularly hard week—one where the baby cried and cried and the husband was hardly home—I had a sort of breakdown. (I say ‘sort of’ because I don’t want you to think I’m the kind of person who has break downs. I’d prefer you think of me as someone who is above the vicissitudes of life.)

He called to see if I cared if he went to the hockey game—Jason had expensive box seats—and I said sure, go, it’s okay, no problem. But I cried and cried while I said it and he panicked a little. “My wife, she’s losing it,” he told Jason and showed up at home an hour later with a dozen roses. It was damage control. “Stop this,” he thought, “before I can’t.” It was his metaphorical straightjacket, a botanical Zoloft.

I cringed every time I looked at those pity roses. (Cringed and then snuggled up; I was glad he came home.) In a more sensible moment he brought it up in these terms: “I think it’s hard for you to be left behind.”

Perhaps he’s right. While just a year ago I would lean over his pillow and kiss him goodbye each morning, our choice to have me stay home after our daughter was born contributes to this feeling that now even the extra-curriculars mean he’s taking leave and I’m hanging back.  It is, I sometimes worry, part of being woman. We’re all a little bit Penelope—weaving the same tapestries day after day while the men in our lives fight battles and skirt Cyclops and strategize. “We could always build a giant wooden horse and fill it with soldiers,” they say to each other.

When the Obama family took the stage on election night the moment that pulled at me—again, those whippish emotions!—was before he even began speaking. He hugged his daughters while Michelle stood by and waited for him to kiss her. Then they both went to work: He stepped forward as America’s truest hero, and Michelle took both daughters in hand and walked them back stage.  (Oh but I cried!)

I have these long talks with myself where I remind myself that I am, in fact, living my dream. Deep down I’ve always wanted to be this little girl’s full-time mother. I went back to work for two weeks and raised high and heavy hallelujahs when I got to officially quit. But there’s something disconcerting about living your dream and still finding pockets of unhappiness. (What will I do, I secretly cower, when we’re really really rich and I still don’t have it all?)

And so it’s perspective I find myself praying for. Little reminders—the baby taking her first step or discovering she can open and close the cupboard (“This is AMAZING!” she said). Little reminders that I’d rather be Michelle than Sarah.

*Levi just called, having read my post, and pointed out that Michelle and Sarah were very bad examples for me to use. He, of course, is right. For my sake, though, try to think of them only in terms of this election.

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