No Cherries on This Sundae

by - 9:57 AM

Something happened to my relationship this week.

Ryan barfed.
On the floor. On the stairs. On the couch.
And not the kind of puking that goes hand-in-hand with excessive drinking, but rather, comes with a temperature and, dare I suggest, Pedialite.
The man was ill.

The evening before, New Year's Eve, Ryan proudly proclaimed to our friends that this is the sixth year we've seen together. Then we toasted, grinned and kissed as 11:59 turned to midnight and 2012 slipped into history.

I say something happened to my relationship primarily for this reason: never once in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, or 2012, have I had to clean up Ryan's puke. And not that puking is a deal breaker, because, well, it's not, but for us, is was a momentary game changer.
I am very used to being Ryan's partner, his lover, his equal and his friend. I'm used to Ryan pretending that he is very macho and if anyone in this house needs taking care of, it's certainly not him.

 But then, he got sick.

The kind of sick that incites infant-like wimpering and sent me on an evening run to the gas station for some Gatorade. The kind of sick that, after he'd emptied the contents of his stomach on my living room floor, left him with the most pitiful look on his face and me cooing in a voice that reminded me startlingly of my mother, stay where you are---I'll clean it up.
For the briefest of hours, I took care of Ryan. For one day, our dynamic was altered and I took care of him. It took six calendar years to pass before the opportunity made itself available, and as I ran behind him, carrying a stack of saltines and a plastic bucket, I felt so weirdly out of place, I honestly wondered if I should call his mother. Should I call my mother? And, for my Carrie Bradshaw moment, I couldn't help but wonder---when am I ever going to get the hang of this. When will this grown up stuff stop feeling new?
The honest truth? He puked and I cleaned it up dutifully. But that very tangible part of me that wants to take hold of his face and kiss his mouth every single time I see him---that part collapsed for one red hot minute. It stopped being tangible. It became a wisp of something that I wasn't sure ever existed.
I didn't call either of our mothers. For some weird reason, I looked at him, then at the bucket and finally, the saltines and I thought to myself, I got this. It was like the time, after two weeks of driving consistantly through Detroit at 8am, that I finally went blazing through traffic, kickin' 75 mph and realized, I know how to do this now.

So no, I didn't call our mothers.
Instead, I laid next to him while he fell into a hot, fitful sleep and the next day, he felt fine.

We felt fine. We went back to normal.

This picture seems to require an explanation that we have an unusual variety of "normal."  That's just Ryan being Ryan. Ha!

I guess the thing is -- sometimes you have raw feelings. They're real and you're not supposed to say them outloud because they're not, um, acceptable, I guess. I was completely freaked out when I heard that first splash. (Yuck, right? Hehe) I don't know how to act maternal. I don't want to act maternal. You're gross.

But you're mine and I love you.
So I pulled out the mop, gave the man some gatorade and tucked him into bed.
I got this.
I can swing through traffic on a five-lane highway in Detroit during morning rush hour. I freakin' got this.

It was new for both of us, but then, as quickly as we were shifted, we settled back in.
The maternal part that was just moments before patting my back, was struck down with equal fervor by the opposing part of me that is sooo not maternal, the minute it was over. We're good. We're good. We're good.

Six years, then Ryan barfed.

In other news.
I'm not going to pretend my life is rough, because it's not. I have a cool job, cute puppies and too many stellar shoes to choose a favorite pair, but can I just say that a space heater really ruins the ambiance of a well cultivated night stand. 

Furnace broken. No heat. Thursday night, Friday, part of Saturday.
Everyone, it's twenty degrees in these parts. Two - Zero. Brrr.
Cons: freezing, too cold to watch TV, not enough hot cocoa in the world.
Pros: puppies get to sleep on the bed (hello heat!), extra long date night (we can't go back there until it's time to sleep), All day shopping adventure (again, I can't go back there.)

When even the big, fluffy, dog huddles....

You know that thing, that saying that goes along the lines of "life is what you make it"?
I'm trying really hard to make it swell, but it was really hard for me to make forty-some degrees anything other than freezing.

Sometimes, though, all you can do is try.
Not every story gets a perfect maraschino cherry on top.
But hell, if you get a sundae, call it a good day and move on.

Finally, a shout out to my good friend, Kate, with whom we celebrated 25 years of a blessed life on Saturday:

(Oh yeah, there's the cherry I was looking for. And the extra hot fudge. And some sprinkles.)

Happy Birthday, KTB.

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  1. Wow. Good for you for puke cleaning! 2 days before our wedding I got food poisoning (like puke every 10 min for 7 hours food poisoning)and my then fiance was sooo good about holding my hair and letting me spew all over his apartment. We had dated for 6 years by then, but I was pretty sure this more than he could handle. But we got married two days later and survived.

    The first time he puked after we were married I stood around the doorway of the bathroom and said nice things like "You're okay" and "Oh gross, please stop." I'm not very maternal.