Let us consider the elements of a good anniversary. Surprised wife? Sudden check. One who helps repair botched plans? Thankful check. Sleeping daughter? Relieved check. Husband immobilized by a humiliating back injury? Slow and careful check. Perhaps your recipe for good anniversaries differs slightly, but I’ll wager that my recipe produces more humorous internet content.
We had everything we could possibly need, so we adjourned to the bedroom. Don’t get your hopes up, though. While the next part of this story involves my wife and me in our bed and not sleeping, it also involves our toddler in our bed and not sleeping. (I wouldn’t tell this story otherwise; my parents read this blog and I want my daughter to be able to read it too!) Furthermore, did I mention that I had injured my back?
We spent the first part of the night trying to find a way for me to recline comfortably on a stack of pillows. We also revisited the heat rub idea, so as to test the magnitude of our folly. (As it turns out, our folly is virtually limitless, but I’ve solidified my hatred of topical medicine.) In short: I looked pathetic, my wife was exhausted from having to carry me around, and the whole room reeked of menthol. If we had thought the situation was romantic, I’d worry about us.
Instead, my wife fell asleep reading a book about eighteenth century smuggling while I sat up watching a television show about wedding dresses. (Thus I worry about us for entirely different reasons.)
Then our daughter stirred. (As a revealing aside: I experience an adrenaline response when I hear what might be the sounds of my daughter waking up in the night. It’s possible that I’m still a bit twitchy.) A few seconds later, she started crying out for us in the sweet warbling voice she has when she’s tired. (Traumatic stress not withstanding, I swear she gets cuter ever second.)
Nighttime daughter care is typically my responsibility, but there wasn’t anything I could do. On a normal night I could have bounded across the house to comfort her, whereas on that night I kept gasping from the physical effort involved in doing sudokus. I had to wake my wife instead.
Unfortunately, our daughter has always depended upon routines–without them she gets confused, cranky, and more than a little like several famous super-villains–and being comforted by mommy in the middle of the night wasn’t the routine. She wanted a cuddle that I couldn’t provide in absentia. My groggy wife put in a champion effort, but our little girl wouldn’t be soothed.
Instead she started throwing a tantrum. (To be clear here, our daughter did this, although other interpretations could create amusing stories.) My wife put her in her crib and walked away; it was a fateful decision. On a normal night our daughter would have cried for a few minutes before going back to sleep, whereas on that night she learned a terrifying lesson.
She learned to climb out of her crib.
So it was that our daughter joined us in bed on our anniversary. Then she climbed back and forth between us for three hours, only pausing to kick one or the other of us in the face. She still found time to be the only one of us that slept well, too.
My poor wife got sick the next day and I can barely move after a week. On the plus side, we have another entry into our collection of memorable times together. I figure that I’d rather keep collecting those than not. In fact, any sort of anniversary is still another anniversary with my wife; that’s a win in my book.