When we were first dating, my wife and I had very few physical markers to the passing of time. Our relationship progressed much as the word around us did, subtly yet substantially. In the grander scheme of things even the stuff that was planned, the changes themselves were muted by the effects of time.
Sure, our address changed, but apart from some seasonal clothing adaptations and the occasional extra grey hairs (especially for Dex who has quite the killer goatee now), it’s mostly been the annual changes in my facial hair to mark the Stanley Cup playoffs and Movember Prostate Health that showed time actually was passing. We pretty much are who we are is who we are which is about the same as we always have been.
Yet now, we have a very physical presence that defines our next step for us in the short term (and the aftermath will further define even grander the long term) and it’s much bigger than an address, or the increased debt attached to it, or, of course our thinning wallets … or our padded educational credentials, or resumes, or even increasing insane responsibilities (real or perceived)…or our middle aged weight gain…
No, it’s growing ankles.
And, growing breasts.
And, growing bellies.
And, not just my wive’s, perhaps, unfortunately.
After a weekend moving the excessive leaves on our property, trust me, I might have gained muscle mass for a few muscle groups that were extremely underused. But, when you suffer from the likes of psoriatic arthritis, well, among other joint and skin related problems, everything swells. All the time.
Yet, as much as I deal with the physical pain, the limitations, the psychological challenges, it’s something I accept.
Watching my wife become more, and more, and more immobile as she begins to experience more, and more, and more of the growth of our child inside of her I realize I’ve had no less than fifteen years of developing an understanding of what this means in my life and to come to term with it. She has had only a few mere months to begin to come to terms with these changes.
So, as I sit with swollen ankles and wrists, sore elbows, knees and hips, and a back that feels like it’s been sifted through a series of vices that would make the Rack in the Princess Bride feel comfortble I know that anything I’m going through is both expected from years of developing these pains to this point and temporary in that a day or a week or even a month from now they won’t be as bad as they are at this moment. Actually, this moment is probably the culmination of this given moment’s discomfort.
If it sucks for me, I supposedly have the solace in the short term it gets better. For my wife, in the short term it gets worse. Depending on your view of what defines midterm it probably gets worse still.
But, I know they hurt. I know they are disabling. I know they are uncomfortable. And yet, I also have never experienced them coming on so fast, so strong, so hard and so extreme (and drawing farts and burps and other extra things that are completely foreign).
I may not ever know what those pains feel like physically, emotionally psychologically or otherwise. I can’t even begin to compare premature aging like I’ve faced since high school to what she must be going through in the protracted experience of pregnancy.
All I have are sympathy pains.
My ankles are swollen too. Not as much circumference wise. Probably not as painfully. Definitely not as much psychologically. But, for every scoop of ice cream. Every bowl of mac n’ cheese. Every chocolate and peanut butter snack … I do know what it means to go through it.
It is the comfort those things (and others) provided me way back when as I felt my own body give up on what I expected it to be able to do. I happened slower and I had much more time to process it and it was not as extreme, but if it meant that much to me them I can only fathom how much it means now. I only wish I could provide for her the comfort in knowing that it’s going to get better the way I have come to determine now.
There are many more months to go and she’s been such a trooper. She’s been consistently